Women’s Basketball Reflects on Impact of Title IX

Women’s Basketball Reflects on Impact of Title IX

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – As the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of Title IX going into effect, members of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s women’s basketball team reflected on the impact the federal civil rights law has had on women’s athletics.

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in school or educational programs that receive funding from the government. Though athletics weren’t specifically mentioned in the law, Title IX has had a major influence on women’s sports.

“Women weren’t given the opportunities, the facilities or the coaching they needed. When Title IX came in 50 years ago, it was the savior, I think, for all athletics because we can really learn from the women’s game,” head coach Lane Lord said. “Women were finally given the opportunities in sports just like the men. It was a long time coming. The growth of women’s basketball from 50 years ago to now is amazing.”

As current student-athletes, juniors Jena’ Williams and Halie Jones appreciate the steps that continue to be made thanks to Title IX to put women’s college athletics on the same level as men’s sports.

“It makes things equal between women and men when it comes to resources and it gives us a chance to make a light and be a change. It gives women a huge opportunity on the court to make a career for themselves,” Williams said. “I watched women’s college basketball and the WNBA growing up, and I know there’s little kids at our games that run up to us and treat us the same way and we love that. It gives me the chance to be a role model for kids the way I had role models growing up.”

Williams noted the recent decision by the NCAA to change the name of baseball’s national tournament from the College World Series to the Men’s College World Series as a positive step to show that softball is on the same playing field. Lord was happy to see the Women’s College World Series breaking records for attendance and TV viewership earlier this month, just as women’s basketball’s Final Four played in sold-out venues.

The consistently increasing support for women’s athletics nationally and around the world is reflected at UTRGV.

“The WNBA is starting to get more attention and college women’s sports are getting more attention, and it’s even cool to see with NIL deals that women get paid more than men,” Jones said. “Our team gets a ton of support. We had a family follow us to Vegas for the WAC Tournament and they were courtside every game. We got so much love and support this year. At our home games, we had the same people always come We know who you are and we’re very appreciative.”

Added Lord: “You can see how women have thrived over the last 50 years because of Title IX and it’s going to keep getting better. Facilities are getting better. The payout for pro ball is starting to equal out. It’s a passion of mine being a women’s basketball coach to make sure our women have the same opportunities as the men. Dr. Guy Baileyour athletic director Chasse Conque and Molly Castner that the women’s sports are a priority just like the men’s sports.”

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