Yow, Hatchell grateful for Title IX
Posted June 22, 2012
Updated June 23, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972.
The law states, '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 educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.'
Title IX has forever changed the world for women. North Carolina State athletics director Debbie Yow and North Carolina head women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell have seen the effects of Title IX's 40 year evolution as an athlete, coach and administrator.
"Title IX legislation, in my opinion, is the second most important piece of civil rights legislation ever passed in this country," said Yow.
"It provided women, females an opportunity to participate," Hatchell said.
Prior to Title IX, the opportunity for girls to participate in high school athletics depended on where you lived in NC.
"Grew up in guilford county where girls were always encouraged to play varsity sports," Yow recalled. "So I actually thought that was the way it was everywhere."
"My high school, 4A high school in Gastonia did not have girls sports," Hatchell said. "I had to play YMCA."
After high school, Hatchell played basketball at Carson Newman beginning in 1970, two years before Title IX became law. The same year, Yow enrolled at Elon to play with sister Susan and for sister Kay. Yow and Hatchell share similar experiences of being a female college athlete in the early 70's.
"I never had a warmup in high school and I got one in college and it was the cast off, wrestling team warm-ups," said Yow. "The numbers didn't match. They were old and faintly smelly even though they were clean."
"We had one uniform," Hatchell said. "It was home and away and we also shared that uniform with the volleyball team."
"We never dreamed of having a bus much less a plane," recalled Yow. "We stayed in the dorms of the opposing teams."
"Sometimes we drove individual cars," Hatchell said, "but hey, we were just happy to be playing."
"Grateful as young women that we had a uniform," said Yow.
"Hey I'm an athlete! Got the name of your school on your chest," Hatchell said. "That's a pride factor you know!"
In the mid-70's Yow and Hatchell were college coaches at Kentucky and Francis Marion, both witnessing the gradual effects of Title IX.
"I remember coming out of graduate school at Tennessee in 75 and none of the women were on scholarship at that time. But the next year a couple of the girls were put on scholarship, partial, not full," said Hatchell.
"And then in 81 when the NCAA said we want to offer women's championships. Things really began to change very quickly," Yow remembered.
In 1972 fewer than 300,000 girls played high school sports. Last year over 3,000,000 girls were competing for their high schools and close to 200,000 were playing collegiately. The benefactors of Title IX.
"It would be very challenging for young people today to wrap their brains around the concept of not having these opportunities," said Yow.
"So many times now people think they are entitled. You're not entitled. You gotta earn it," said Hatchell. "When you earn something it means so much more to you."