News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

June 23, 2012

Title IX turns 40 ...

The day the field levels for women

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s easy to forget just how different things were 40 years ago until you listen to former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh — one of Indiana’s  

and Terre Haute’s favorite sons — talk about the daughter of an Oklahoma wheat farmer who changed his life.

That girl was Marvella Hern, who’d been a straight-A student, class president and national speech champion in high school when she was denied admission to the college of her choice in 1951. The rejection letter from the University of Virginia was terse: “Women need not apply.”

Bayh married that girl and has told her story again and again to explain how he became known as the father of Title IX — the 1972 federal law that forbids sex discrimination at schools that get federal aid and changed the male-dominated culture of American sports.

As the retired Indiana senator recounts it now, Marvella convinced him it was foolish to waste the brainpower of half the population by denying women access to equal opportunity in educational institutions.

“You’re not exactly asking anybody to be a profile in courage when you’re asking them to support a law that benefits so many people,” Bayh, 84, said in a recent interview. “Still, we had no idea just how far it would go.”

Championed by Bayh in the U.S. Senate and by Hawaii’s Patsy Mink and Oregon’s Edith Green in the House, Title IX was signed into law by President Richard Nixon 40 years ago today, June 23, 1972.

What started out as a means to compel equal access to education — especially in medical and law schools — also opened arenas of sport to girls and women in ways Bayh never imagined. There are nearly 10 times as many female players in intercollegiate athletics as there were in 1972; the number of girls in high school sports has jumped nearly 1,000 percent.

Bayh thinks those numbers would have pleased Marvella, who died of cancer in 1979. They also make him think of his father, who coached four sports at Indiana State University and told his son, back in the 1930s, that “little girls need strong bodies to carry strong minds around in, just like little boys do.”

‘Fairness to our daughters’

Much has been written about the cultural war over Title IX as schools at all levels across the nation wrestled with how to enforce it. It has been embraced and resisted, even litigated and challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. A 1984 decision involving tiny Grove City College, a private Pennsylvania school, and the 1988 Civil Rights Restoration Act extended the law’s reach to indirect federal aid such as student loans and grants.

Thus Title IX remains true today to its original intent, and even those who find fault with how its policy of equality falls short when put into practice still praise it.

“Title IX is about one thing,” said Christine Grant, the former athletic director of the Department of Women’s Athletics at the University of Iowa. “It’s about fairness to our daughters in the same way we have fairness to our sons.”

In two generations, it has changed the look of sports. Before Title IX, one in 27 high school girls played organized sports. Now it’s close to 2 in 5.

The number of women playing intercollegiate sports has risen more than 600 percent since the law’s inception, from less than 30,000 to more than 186,000. (That’s still less than the nearly 250,000 NCAA male athletes.)

Title IX’s impact on numbers off the field also is evident. In 1972, 7 percent of the law degrees and 9 percent of the medical degrees went to women; now nearly half those degrees are earned by women.

Bayh — who grew up on a farm near Shirkieville in Vigo County raising hogs, chickens and cattle — favors another barometer: Before the law was passed, less than 10 percent of the students in veterinary medicine schools were women. Today it’s nearly 80 percent.

Judith Sweet, who pushed for better compliance with the law when she served as president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the 1990s, worries there’s a downside to that progress. Sweet cites a recent email from a female student-athlete who said her teammates didn’t know the law even existed.

“That’s so common when we ask the question to young women: ‘How many of you know about Title IX?’” Sweet said. “So many of them don’t.”

It doesn’t bother Bayh quite as much to know there’s a generation of athletes who take Title IX, and his role in its passage, for granted. “Maybe that’s the way it should be,” Bayh said. “Equal rights should be a given.”

Knock-down,

drag-out fight

“It was a long, hard path,” is how Bayh describes the struggle for congressional approval.

Passage of Title IX was relatively easy. Equal access to education seemed less radical, Bayh said, than a companion cause he was championing at the time: a constitutional change to force gender equity through the Equal Rights Amendment.

Still, it took three years to get the regulations to enforce Title IX into final print and signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1975.

In the meantime, the NCAA unleashed a massive lobbying effort to quash it. The organization’s executive director, Walter Byers, warned his member schools of “impending doom around the corner” for popular male college sports if the law were enforced.

Bayh still remembers the visit he got in his Washington, D.C., office from two titans of college sports: University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and University of Notre Dame Athletic Director Edward “Moose” Krause.

“They said, ‘You better get off this Title IX thing. It’s going to destroy our

football programs.’”

Bayh didn’t buy it. Nor did Ford, a former University of Michigan football player who got a similar message from the athletic director at his alma mater.

Title IX backers also had to rebuff influential Texas Sen. John Tower, who wanted to amend Title IX to exempt football and men’s basketball — the revenue gold at most big schools.

“It was a knock-down, drag-out fight,” Bayh said. “But I used to box when I was a kid, and I grew up wrestling hogs on the family farm. I wasn’t going to back down from a fight like that.”

‘Confidence to face adversity’

Tower’s amendment was defeated, but many more fights ensued, in and out of Congress. The guidelines set out to enforce the law were exhaustive in what they covered, but plenty of educational institutions had to be poked, prodded, sued or embarrassed into compliance.

On a March day in 1976, the women’s rowing team at Yale University made headlines when it stripped naked in the office of the women’s athletic director. Denied access to the warm showers of the Yale boathouse — reserved only for the men’s team — they were fed up having to wait a half-hour or more on the team bus after drenching workouts in the freezing cold.

On their chests and backs, written in bold marker, was: “Title IX.” The team captain who led the protest was 19-year-old Chris Ernst, who would go on to become an Olympian.

There are quieter stories that tell of the revolution brought by Title IX.

When the law was passed, Bob Gardner was both a teacher and the boys’ teams coach at rural Milan High School in Bayh’s home state of Indiana.

Gardner said he couldn’t help but be sympathetic to the Title IX cause. “In the same classes, I had players from the girls’ team and players from the boys’ team,” Gardner said. “I wanted them all to be successful in academics and athletics.”

Gardner is still pushing the merits of Title IX as executive director of the National Federation of High School Associations, the umbrella organization for state high school sports.

He sees Title IX as the gateway that has given millions of girls access to the playing field — including his own two daughters who played varsity sports in high school and college. One is now a bio-molecular engineer in Minnesota; the other is a college administrator in New York.

“The lessons they learned playing sports have benefited them as adults,” Gardner said. “It’s given them confidence to face adversity.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070714 CULVER PHOTO.jpg Maker of history

    A humble man with a heart for helping others is an apt description for Terre Haute resident Curtis B. Culver.
    Culver died July 2 at age 94, leaving behind a legacy of missionary work and social involvement.

    July 7, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 070714 TRASH TRANSFER.jpg Petitioners push for recycling at fair

    A Vigo County environmental activist hopes to convince the Vigo County Fair Board to start recycling, especially during the county fair, and has started an online petition.

    July 7, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET 070714 SULLIVAN SQ2.jpg Veterans call on commissioners to protect war memorial

    Installing a camera on the second floor of the Sullivan County Courthouse may be one solution to curtailing what several veterans are calling a disgrace to a memorial that honors Americans who gave their lives in service to the country.

    July 7, 2014 4 Photos

  • Schools ethics case: Proposed deal to be reviewed

    The State Ethics Commission is set to review a proposed settlement Thursday in the ethics case against former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

    July 7, 2014

  • Man airlifted to Indy after early morning crash

    A Clay City man sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a head-on collision early Monday morning on Indiana 46 at Riley Road southeast of Terre Haute.

    July 7, 2014

  • Man agrees to plea on youth sex charges

    A Terre Haute man received a suspended sentence in a plea agreement signed Monday as his jury trial was about to commence in Vigo Superior Court 1.

    July 7, 2014

  • Downtown fire victim ID released

    Carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause of death for 61-year-old William Sonnefield, a resident of Deming Center who died in a late Thursday night fire inside his apartment. The Vigo County Coroner’s office released the victim’s name Monday.

    July 7, 2014

  • MET 070614 FORD CONVERT.jpg Farmyard games

    Susan Ooley-Viray’s love of tractors started as a Christmas gift about five years ago from her husband, John.

    July 6, 2014 6 Photos

  • MET 062914 100TH ANNIV.jpg St. George's: Century of faith

    From its formation in a sewing circle of European immigrant women, surviving a fire that destroyed its building, to expanding with a new parish hall, St. George’s Episcopal Church has endured to celebrate its 100th anniversary next Sunday.

    July 6, 2014 6 Photos

  • Turtle Hello.jpg MIKE LUNSFORD: Wet in Wyoming, wandering turtles and other tales of the road

    It is an odd thing, after all the miles I drove a few weeks ago — to the mountains of Wyoming and back again — that today I remember most of all stopping along the road in two places nearly 600 miles apart.

    July 6, 2014 2 Photos

  • STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Financial hardships mount for military families

    Days before the July 4th holiday, Holly Petraeus stood on the steps of the imposing Indiana War Memorial, in front of a bank of cameras, and made a plea to military families: Don’t let pride stand in the way of asking for help.

    July 6, 2014

  • RESTAURANT INSPECTIONS: July 7, 2014

    June 16-20

    July 6, 2014

  • Man in critical condition after July 4 stabbing

    A Sullivan County man remained in critical condition Sunday at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after being stabbed on July 4.

    July 6, 2014

  • MET07514 fair hunt:pete.jpg Day at the fair

    Though the Vigo County Fair officially opens today, Saturday was a busy day around the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds as open class exhibits were entered and judged and commercial vendors made final adjustments to their stands.

    July 5, 2014 11 Photos

  • MET07514 meth house.jpg Finding a meth lab

    Finding out if a property has been the previous site of a clandestine methamphetamine lab has become easier through a new online database recently rolled out by the Indiana State Police.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Rocket Explodes Over Israeli Wedding Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game Raw: World's Tallest Water Slide Opens Thursday Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Sterling Testifies in Los Angeles Clippers Trial Track Owners Fight to End Greyhound Racing Raw: Stampede in Rio During World Cup Mississippi River Flooding Likely to Slow Down Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Raw: Palestinians Clash With Israeli Forces Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Tornadoes Kill Four in Central New York Germany Crushes Brazil in 7-1 Win at World Cup Raw: Obama Shoots Pool in Denver Raw: Panic in Tel Aviv As Siren Warns of Attack Cleveland Picked to Host 2016 GOP Convention Wisconsin Cop Ready to Roll...On Skateboard Former NFL Player 'Excited' Deal Almost Done
NDN Video
Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1 'Purrmanently Sad Cat' Looks Adorably Sad All the Time Pharrell 'humbled' by success of mega-hit 'Happy' Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Jennifer Lawrence Facepalms Emma Watson Athletes Bare All for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue Raw: Brazil Fans Leaving Stadium Before Half Andi Dorfman Walks Out During the Rose Ceremony 5 Firework Fails for July 4th Justin Bieber Catches Tom Hanks Getting Down, Showing ‘How We Do It Big shoes to fill for Brazil ahead of Germany clash Man's 'Potato Salad' Plea Takes Off on Kickstarter Joan Rivers Storms Out of Interview Watch: A turtle and dog play ball Yikes! This Jet is Way Too Close Late-Night Highlight: Ben Falcone Screwed Up His Proposal To Melissa McCarthy Jenny and Sherri Talk "View" Departure
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News