“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” -Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Title IX, a part of the Education Amendments, was enacted through Congress and signed into law on June 23, 1972, by President Richard Nixon.
The purpose of Title IX was to ensure gender equality among any institution that is federally funded, that being in the workplace and in any level of education. In doing so, it was to protect women from sexual harassment, end discrimination based on pregnancies and create equal opportunities in athletics.
Apart from having a drastic impact in all areas, attention to equal opportunities in athletics really took off.
Following the signing, the law has gone through many revisions, but the statistics of women currently enrolled in athletic programs has substantially increased since its inception.
According to the Richard Nixon Foundation, in 1966, only 16,000 females competed in intercollegiate athletics. During the same year as the signing of the law, less than 30,000 women competed in intercollegiate athletics and only received two percent of the school’s funding for athletic programs.
In 2001, that number jumped to 150,000 and as of 2014, 200,000 women compete in college athletics. Now, about 43 percent of college athletes are made up of women.
The most common sports offered to women by colleges are basketball, volleyball, cross country, softball and soccer. Fullerton College continues to explore more avenues for women’s sports to ensure the rights granted by Title IX.
“We do our best to stay in compliance,” said Phil Thurman, Sports Information Director. “We’ve recently added a few more female sports. We take great pride in that.”
After starting out as a club sport in 2014, women’s beach volleyball was officially deemed a sanction sport in 2015 by the California Community College Athletic Association.
The sport started off at a handful of community colleges and continues to spread throughout the system.
The addition of women’s beach volleyball “helped gauge interest,” Thurman noted, and now Fullerton College will add a female lacrosse team to be coached by women’s soccer coach, Pam Lewin, in spring of 2019.
Currently, the team sits at the club level, but the division is pushing to make it a sanction sport. In one or two years, the plan is to get it moved to the CCCAA.
Their first step is to be a provisional admit into the Western Women’s Lacrosse League.
“We’re hoping to move it from the WWLL to the CCCAA and make it a collegiate sport,” said Lewin.
Lewin has been a soccer coach at Fullerton College for 17 years and has expressed how compliant and fair the college has been towards female athletics and progressive in its initiative to increase athletic opportunities for future generations.
“The division and department at Fullerton College have always been proactive in seeking out opportunities for female athletes to compete,” said Lewin.
The signing of Title IX was just the beginning of a journey of self-determination for women in the field of athletics. Thurman conveyed how shocking it is today to realize that even in the late 1960s, women were still shunned from recognition in athletics and were not anywhere near the level of recognition given to male athletes and male sports programs.
However, society come a long way since then, and Fullerton College shows it’s ready to support that.
“We feel that it is really important that women have equal opportunity here at Fullerton College,” said Thurman. “We try to have as many sports and programs available.”
For more information on Fullerton College’s athletic department and the upcoming Lacrosse team, visit their website.