50 years of Title IX


Graphic by Morgan Flynn

by Morgan Flynn, Sports Editor

*Editor’s note: This story is one of two in a series of in-depth articles pertaining to Title IX at Simpson College.

The 50th anniversary of Title IX, the 37-word civil rights law that changed the lives of women by creating opportunities in all areas of federally funded education programs, including athletics, comes this year after being passed in 1972.

“It’s impacted my life so much more than what I think I realize when I don’t think about what life used to be like before Title IX,” senior softball player Randie Richmond said. “But I really think that we can take a lesson from those women who pioneered this for us and keep fighting for our own rights in our own population.” 

Although it applies to all areas of education, the most well-known area is in athletics at youth and NCAA levels.

The NCAA did not sponsor a championship for women until the fall of 1981, more than 75 years after the association was founded. Today, there are championships in all divisions for all women’s sports. However, none of those are considered revenue-producing. 

Despite the progress over the last 50 years, inequality in athletics is still being seen today.

When Title IX passed in 1972, Simpson had zero women’s sports. 

“When I think of Title IX, I think of a sense of barriers being broken and doors being open for females and athletics,” senior softball player Liv Erickson said. “And for my team, I think it creates equal opportunities for us both on and off the field. I really get a sense of empowerment and belonging in the world of athletics.”   

A U.S. Department of Education report from 2019 found that 87% of NCAA schools “offered disproportionately higher rates of athletic opportunities to male athletes compared to their enrollment.”

“Title IX is definitely an important piece of legislation for college athletics. It was an education piece that started off and then it was kind of transferred over to the athletic side of things,” women’s soccer head coach Jeremy Reinert said. “I think when you look at larger sports like football, women’s soccer is a sport that we can use on the women’s side of athletics to balance those types of scholarships and opportunities out.”

With the addition of men’s gymnastics, Simpson added women’s gymnastics as well as women’s gymnastics to comply with the federal mandate.

“There’s a lot of different ways you can comply with Title IX and they give you a time period. It doesn’t have to be done immediately, but how our society is set up right now, the easiest way is to just cut sports,” assistant women’s basketball coach Moran Lonning said. “And I don’t think that’s right either. I think there still can be work done with Title IX to uplift women, but not at the expense of cutting opportunities for men.”

In addition to complying with Title IX, Director of Athletics Marty Bell explains that the addition of new sports is part of a larger plan for the college.

“We must continue to provide opportunities for young women through strategic initiatives,” Bell said. “Adding new sports like wrestling and gymnastics can provide great opportunities for young female athletes and coaches while strengthening our campus culture and academic profile.”

The Simpson women’s gymnastics team and wrestling team will begin competition in the 2022-2023 season. As of Feb. 1, the gymnastics team had eight commits.