Happy Anniversary: 50 years of Title IX

by WIAA Staff

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s year of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Title IX legislation is underway.

The WIAA celebrates its 126th anniversary this year, and among all the events that have occurred since 1896, perhaps nothing has been more impactful on high school sports than the Title IX of the Educational Amendments in 1972.

Two years prior to the passage of Title IX, the WIAA conducted its first girls tournament with the State Girls Swimming & Diving Championships on Oct. 31, 1970, at Beloit High School. During the 1970-71 school year, the WIAA conducted two other state tournaments, including gymnastics and track and field. Tournament participation that year reached 4,312 girls.

Fast forward to 2020-21, and 60,637 girls, including multiple sport student-athletes, participated in 11 sports. A 12th sport was added in 2021-22 with the sponsorship of girls wrestling, which launches the recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Title IX on Jan. 29 at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the year prior to the passage of Title IX, there were fewer than 300,000 girls who participated in high school sports nationally, or about one in every 27 girls who attended school.

Two years later, that figure jumped to 1,300,169, and by the 1977-78 school year, girls participation exceeded 2 million – an increase of almost 1.7 million in just six years. 

The number of girls involved in high school sports has continued to increase since those historic years, and currently more than 3.4 million girls are taking advantage of the opportunity to participate in these vital, life-changing programs.

The lives of millions of girls have been enriched through participation in interscholastic opportunities since 1972, and the WIAA will be recognizing some of the pioneers and those individuals that paved the way for future generations during the next 12 months.

CHANGES ARE COMING: The WIAA Board of Control approved a number of fall sport coaches’ recommendations at its January meeting.

Some noteworthy ones …

In soccer, the Board supported a recommendation to reduce the goal differential threshold to enact the mercy rule from 10 goals to eight. Starting in the fall, when a team builds an eight-goal lead once the game reaches the 60-minute mark, the match will end.

In tennis, a hat can be worn during a match played in inclement conditions as long as illegal logos are not visible.

And in golf, regulations will be edited to allow a maximum of 15 meets if one of the meets is scheduled on a non-school day. The former language provided 15 meets only if one was scheduled on a Saturday.

NEWS AND NOTES: Three Officials Advisory Committee recommendations were approved.

The Board eliminated the 12-hour waiting period before coaches are able to rank officials, effective at the start of the spring sports season this year.

In addition, three-person officiating crews will be required for the softball sectional semifinals beginning in 2023. Existing playoff procedures require three-person crews in the sectional finals and state tournament.

The Board also supported adding black as an approved color for baseball umpires beginning this spring.

Categories: Sports

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