Celebrating 50 years of Title IX and student-athletes
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, Women Philanthropists for KU hosted an event featuring former and current KU women student-athletes. The Title IX federal civil rights law changed United States history in 37 words, eliminating all schools from discrimination based on gender. Women have since paved their paths within education and athletics.
The Women Philanthropists for KU brought in Athletic Director Travis Goff, Deputy Athletics Director for Sports Administration and Student-Athlete Well-Being/SWA Nicole Corcoran and three current student-athletes: Kai Alexander, Kennedy Doakes and Avery Smith, to lead a panel about Title IX and its importance. Many notable women from KU’s athletic history attended the event and participated in the discussion.
“This is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX. We are thrilled this is happening, but also recognizing the past, where we’ve been, and how hard that road has been,” Corcoran said. “We need to celebrate those who came before us that fought for us to be here, and the trailblazers who paved the way,”
The afternoon focused on celebrating women of all ages and phases throughout KU history and the advancements that have been possible because of Title IX. Kansas Athletics has 10 women’s teams in the department, including basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, swim and dive, tennis, track and field and volleyball. The three women student-athletes at the event represented soccer, track and rowing.
KU has helped women open doors for one another within athletics, noting their talent, integrity and strength to uplift Jayhawks under Title IX.
“In my time at KU, I have been able to look up to so many amazing women who have been here and played before me and try to emulate them,” said Avery Smith, KU junior and women’s soccer player. “Someday, I hope to impart that kind of impact on younger female athletes as well.”
These student-athletes have taken valuable life lessons from their time at KU and being a part of athletics. The opportunities they have experienced because of previous women and Title IX have created space for them to grow as teammates and leaders.
“I have found grit and the ability to communicate, that’s a huge part of sports,” said Kai Alexander, KU senior, rowing member and SAAC executive committee member at KU athletics. “Communicating with coaches, teammates, and other students has been an important part of what I’ve learned here at KU.”
The Women Philanthropists for KU event provided a forum to educate and discuss the importance of Title IX for all academic institutions and highlighted the strength of the legislation at KU.
“Title IX isn’t just about women and women’s sports, it’s about all of us and for us to understand where we have come from and how hard we have worked. It impacts all of us,” Corcoran said.
– Pamela Urlacher
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.