On March 10, the women’s sand volleyball team played its inaugural match. Sand volleyball, USC’s newest sport, is USC’s 12th women’s athletic team. The inaugural match was timely because of the recent celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX.
Commonly referenced in regards to equality in women’s athletics, many overlook Title IX’s initial purpose. On the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, Title IX sought to energize the women’s movement. Title IX was eventually passed in 1972, aiming to cease discrimination in education.
The law states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
In accordance with Title IX, universities (among other institutions) are required to provide equal treatment for all athletic programs.
Thus, the passage of Title IX has revolutionized high school and college athletics, granting everyone, regardless of sex, the opportunity to play athletics at the next level. Not surprisingly, USC has consistently supported equality in athletics. This unwavering support has benefited the Trojan Family greatly.
Most associate USC’s great success in athletics with male-dominated sports, such as football, water polo and tennis. But during the reign of the Women of Troy, USC has produced numerous notable female athletes such as Lisa Leslie (basketball), Debbie Green (volleyball) and Rebecca Soni (swimming),
Athletic excellence is not uncommon within the realm of USC women’s athletics. In the early days of Title IX, a sister duo at USC helped pave the way for future Women of Troy and non-USC female collegiate athletes alike. Pam and Paula McGee, both of whom recently had their jerseys retired, led the Women of Troy to two consecutive national championships in 1983 and 1984 and were awarded several accolades during their time at USC.
In addition, Pam represented the U.S. in the 1984 Olympics. The McGee sisters inspired many with every lay-up and free throw, emphasizing great Trojan traditions and putting women’s athletics on the map.
Since the McGee dynasty, Women of Troy athletic teams have continued to excel. Not only are female athletes succeeding in the realm of NCAA competition, but Women of Troy athletes have also been no stranger to the Olympic spotlight.
Today, the face of Trojan athletics is continuing to evolve by incorporating a variety of women’s teams.
Just one year ago, USC announced the addition of a women’s lacrosse team, which will make its debut in 2013. This newest addition, along with sand volleyball, emphasizes the diversity of sports within USC’s athletic department. This diversity of sports will propel USC athletics into all-around athletic dominance, rather than being notable simply because of success in football.
Unfortunately, some may be quick to devalue the importance of women’s collegiate athletics by citing superiority in male dominated sports.
Yes, men’s athletics at USC have racked up 93 NCAA men’s championships. In the coming decades, however, don’t be surprised if the Women of Troy start adding hardware to the trophy cabinets at Heritage Hall as well.
Forty years after the passing of Title IX, USC is carrying on the intentions of Title IX’s initiators, granting equal treatment of all collegiate athletes.
It has empowered female athletes at the high school and college levels. Without a doubt, USC owes its athletic dominance to Title IX.
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