Much Debated Gender Equity Law Celebrated – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Much Debated Gender Equity Law Celebrated

William Smith Athletics will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Title IX education law as well as the 20th anniversary of NCAA Championships for Women.

March 8, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—On a campus that has served as a cradle of sport equity, William Smith Athletics will celebrate two anniversaries that have allowed women full participation in athletics: the landmark Title IX legislation of 1972 as well as the creation of NCAA Championship for Women in 1982. William Smith Athletics will celebrate these historic events on Saturday, March 23, with a series of events, including a discussion with acclaimed author Mariah Burton Nelson and Olympic champion rower Kris Thorsness.

Nelson and Thorsness will discuss “The Future of Title IX and Women’s Sports” at 3 p.m. on March 23 in Albright Auditorium on the Colleges campus. Nelson is the author of “The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football” and “Are We Winning Yet? How Women are Changing Sports and Sports are Changing Women.” Nelson is an athlete having played basketball for Stanford University and in the first U.S. women’s professional league. Thorsness, an attorney, was a member of the U.S. Rowing team who earned a gold medal at the 1984 Olympic games. She is an eight-time national champion and a 2000 Masters national champion.

“Title IX transformed not only sports opportunities for women, but how society views women and how women view themselves,” Nelson said. “Through athletic competition, women and girls learn courage and confidence, helping them to become role models and leaders for both women and men.”

Title IX guarantees equal educational opportunities for men and women, including athletics. “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.”

Over the years, the legislation continues to be hotly debated by those who believe that creating athletics for women has hurt men. Event organizer Susan Bassett, vice chair of the NCAA Division III Management Council and athletics director at William Smith College, has researched the impact of Title IX as well as the impact sports has on women.

Bassett notes the number of women participating in intercollegiate athletics increased from 90,000 in 1981-82 to 163,000 in 1998-99, while men’s participation increased as well from 220,000 to 232,000 during the same time period.

“Title IX has produced more participation opportunities for girls and women, but the growth of men’s sports has been significant over the same time period,” Bassett said. “Unfortunately some schools have chosen to cut men's sports in order to fund women's opportunities. That was never the intent of Title IX. Obviously, that approach has pitted men against women in the athletics arena. The purpose of Title IX is simply to guarantee the same opportunities for girls that we have provided for boys.”

The following is a complete listing of events being held on the weekend of March 23 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges to celebrate the passage of Title IX and the creation of the NCAA Championship for Women.

Saturday, March 23
10 a.m.: Geneva High School girls’ lacrosse vs. Chittenango High School on the Colleges’ AstroTurf field.

1 p.m.: William Smith lacrosse vs. Nazareth on the Colleges’ AstroTurf field.

3 p.m.: The panel discussion featuring Mariah Burton Nelson in Albright Auditorium (detailed above). Also participating in the panel discussion will be Tiffany Jones, a 1999 William Smith graduate, former Heron soccer player and a doctoral candidate at Springfield College. The discussion will be moderated by Betty Bayer, associate professor of psychology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

6 p.m.: Hall of Honor dinner and induction ceremony in Winn-Seeley Gymnasium. Tickets to the dinner can be purchased by contacting the athletics department at (315) 781-3500.

Sunday March 24
11 a.m.: William Smith alumnae will play a field hockey game on the AstroTurf Field.

11 a.m.: William Smith alumnae will play a soccer game in the Field House.

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