TTU’s Coach Gerlich considers impact of Title IX, 50 years later

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 9:44 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s been half a century since the playing field was leveled for women and college athletes in higher education.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

It created resources for victims of sexual violence and broke down barriers for women in collegiate sports.

Lady Raiders head coach Krista Gerlich has seen its impact as a player and a coach.

She says the landmark civil rights legislation brought women’s sports to the forefront and allowed trailblazing female athletes to kick in the door on what was once a man’s game.

“Shines a light on the opportunities that women need to get and to have,” Gerlich said.

Those opportunities allowed female athletes to gain notoriety and forge a new path in the world of sports.

“It’s just been incredible to watch the growth of women’s sports, particularly at the collegiate level,” Gerlich said.

Gerlich says the implementation of Title IX elevated women’s athletics across the country and created equality where there was none.

That made it possible for elite athletes like Texas Tech’s Sheryl Swoopes to put women’s collegiate sports on the map and show that the girls could play on the biggest stage.

“I think that that’s really important for the ladies that we’re coaching now,” Gerlich said. “They have aspirations and big dreams of playing at the next level.”

Skilled players like Swoopes fueled the creation of professional leagues like the WNBA, established in 1996.

“I think that just continues to inspire young girls,” Gerlich said. “So now we have so many more girls that have that ability to play at that next level.

The Title IX decision created a strong foundation for women’s athletics but Gerlich says the job isn’t done yet.

“We still have a long ways to go and we want to continue to push that needle forward,” Gerlich said.

Off the court, Title IX provides resources to victims of sexual violence, making it easier to report instances of rape and other forms of sexual assault on college campuses.

Even 50 years later, that law is still evolving.

Today the Biden Administration announced Title IX reforms that would roll back changes made under President Trump.

The proposed rules would restore protections for victims of sexual harassment, assault, and sex-based discrimination that were weakened under the last presidential administration.

Some Republican lawmakers pushed back against the Biden Administration’s proposals, saying the focus on trans women takes away from the rights of biological women.

Senator Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas, said: “Biological men were born with a Y chromosome that should exclude them from ever competing against biological women that do not have a Y chromosome,” Marshall said. “It’s an unfair advantage, period.”

These lawmakers advocated for a third category of sports for trans people, whether pre or post transition.

They say that would prevent them from competing at an advantage or a disadvantage in any sport.

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