Title IX at 50: How 37 words changed the world for women

Monday, June 20, 2022
Christian Society Monitor

It’s a story Carol Hutchins likes to tell. She’s sharing it again now, sitting in her office at the University of Michigan, surrounded by awards that hint at her status as one of the most successful college coaches – male or female – in the United States. It’s about her click moment in 1976. Ms. Hutchins was a freshman varsity basketball player at Michigan State University, living her dream of playing college sports at a time when few women were student-athletes. On that winter day, her team got a fortuitous break: Instead of practicing where they normally did, in the intramural building with its leaky roof and warped floor, the women were working out in Jenison Field House – the big gymnasium where the men’s basketball team played. They were getting ready for a rare double-header in which both the men’s and women’s teams were hosting major out-of-town rivals. As the women ran plays, the visiting men’s team walked in with its famous coach – revered by anyone who followed college basketball. He called the women’s team over. Ms. Hutchins was excited. Surely, she thought, they were going to get a pep talk. Some strategic insights. A motivational anecdote. Not exactly. “He said, ‘You need to get off the court because nobody gives a damn about women’s basketball,’” Ms. Hutchins recalls.

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