The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 23, 2012

Fortieth anniversary of Title IX a study in social progress

Legislative milestone about more than women's sports

Pat Lipira grew up around sports. Her father played fast pitch softball; her brother played Little League baseball. Lipira would help warm up the pitchers on her brother’s team and play catch with them.

But when it came time to play ball, “there was nothing for me,” said Lipira, who grew up during the 1960s. “All I knew was I wanted to play. My brother was playing baseball, and I was the batgirl, and I wanted to play.”

Lipira began playing summer softball on a girls team just before her teenage years. During high school, she played on every intramural sports team available to her.

No competitive girls teams existed at her school in St. Joseph, so she tried out for and played with the boys tennis team. “But I couldn’t play baseball,” she said.

That would begin to change on June 23, 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed a piece of legislation commonly referred to as Title IX. Its impact wasn’t immediate, and it wasn’t recognized by most people at the time as being historic.

But in the past 40 years it has changed the country’s cultural landscape. Rooted in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, it helped pave the way for millions of underrepresented individuals to realize their potential.

Title IX prohibits discrimination or exclusion, on the basis of sex, at agencies that receive federal funds. That includes about 16,000 school districts, 3,200 colleges and universities and 5,000 for-profit schools, libraries and museums, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The law covers a broad range of programs and activities, including admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, athletics, housing and employment.

Lipira graduated from high school in 1974 and finally played softball competitively during college. Now the interim vice president for academic affairs at Missouri Southern State University, she said one of the most important aspects of the gender-neutral law is that it protects both sexes.

“It’s not about women,” she said. “It’s about equal opportunity for people.”

Sallie Beard, now retired after several years as Missouri Southern’s athletics director, also highlights that as crucial to understanding Title IX.

“The language in the law is to serve the underrepresented gender,” and that is often — but not always — women, she said.

Beard has seen firsthand the effects of Title IX. In 1974, near the beginning of her career at the university, she was approached by a group of young women who wanted to start a basketball team.

She agreed to help them. Together, they organized a schedule, including practices at 5:30 a.m., and they were given a $2,000 budget that was to cover their travel and uniforms.

“And it all started from there,” she said.

The following spring, Beard helped create the women’s tennis and softball teams. Years later, women’s track and field, volleyball and soccer were also added. She never had trouble putting together a team.

“I think there was a good deal of interest,” she said. “It provided enough inertia on its own to start a program.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read


Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter