‘Godmother of Title IX’ Coming to Louisville

This week, I’m handing over my column to Kellie Denton, one of The Voice’s newest writers. The subject matter more than deserves the space; so does Kellie. She’s been a fabulous edition to our staff. ~Angie Fenton, Managing Editor

By KELLIE Denton
Contributing Dish Columnist

Dr. Bernice Sandler.

Dr. Bernice Sandler.

Dr. Bernice Sandler – the “Godmother of Title IX” – is being celebrated Tuesday in Louisville.

Sandler is responsible for proposing Title IX in 1970, which implemented sexual impartiality “within education programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Sandler will be honored during halftime at the University of Louisville’s Women’s Basketball game against Connecticut, which starts at 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.

Sandler facilitated the bill in 1970 as a response to her frustration with her job at the University of Maryland, which was replacing competent female workers with less-qualified male counterparts. Title IX was passed in 1972. While the bill doesn’t explicitly state a concern with female athletics, women’s sports programs around the country owe their existence to Sandler.

Given that this is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, it’s appropriate that Sandler be recognized for her activism through the years. The anniversary has also captured the attention of the National Girls and Women in Sports Day, an annual celebration that honors the greatest promoter of women and sports. Because of this, UofL Athletic Director Tom Jurich will present Sandler at halftime with the esteemed honor.

This particular halftime show will be witnessed by admired female industry leaders from across the country. Kathleen DeBoere, executive director of American Volleyball Coaches Association is expected to attend. So is Lacy Lee Baker, executive director of National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association and Dr. Joni B. Comstock, senior vice president of the NCAA, as well as many respected others.

While Title IX is not just about sports, one cannot argue the notoriety that the law has gained because of athletics.

Next week, 20,000 spectators will observe the importance of this when 500 of UofL’s female, athletic alumni offer their thanks during the halftime show. Bernice Sandler will be presented with a T-shirt listing all the names of the Louisville female athletes that were allowed to play sports because of Sandler’s hard work.

University of Louisville’s Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director, Julie Hermann, is thrilled about Sandler’s impending visit, but understands that not everyone jumped on Title IX like they should have. “I think, regrettably, it took a federal statute to get the nations to pay attention to the inequity of institutions – especially in sports,” Hermann said. “We (UofL) had ignored a lot of Title IX until Tom Jurich arrived in ’97. He brought us very quickly into Title IX compliance. So on our campus, the champion has been him.”

Watch with Us

Bernice Sandler will be honored Feb. 7 during halftime of University of Louisville Women’s Basketball vs. Connecticut at the KFC Yum! Center. Tip-off is 7 p.m.

One Response to “‘Godmother of Title IX’ Coming to Louisville”

  1. Jamie A. Wadell

    I know all too well what TitleIX helped accomplish for minor sports at the University of Louisville. As a member of both the women’s volleyball and basketball teams during 1973-76, the discrepancies were unfathomable. My very courageous coach Rebecca Hudson, lost her job because she filed a Title IX grievance against the University. That was the regime before Tom Jurich, when the only sport that mattered was Men’s basketball. Tom did a great job upgrading all facilities and valuing all sports. Too bad for the women, who worked hard and received little monetary or any recognition for their efforts. There are many women who appreciate you and hopefully the women who are presently playing, appreciate what they now have.