50 years of Title IX: Now a coach, former Creighton athlete reflects on progress, hopes more for future
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Thursday was the 50th anniversary of Title IX, its mainstream application is in sports, protecting against discrimination based on sex.
Fifty years ago, women’s golf head coach, Debbie Conry, was an athlete herself at Creighton University, playing basketball and golf. Title IX was passed just a year before she started college in 1973. It wasn’t until three years later, were rules issued for schools to comply.
“We just played because we loved the game. We just weren’t really offered very much but they wanted to provide something, so those of us that wanted to play, we did. Then a few years later they actually started to offer some scholarships, but I’m not really sure what that entailed because I don’t think it was that much. We just did it because we loved the game,” said Conry.
Her basketball team got one uniform, would drive everywhere, and meal stipends were not a thing.
“The kids that played for me 10 years ago, 15 years ago, they’re appalled at what my kids get now,” she said.
Even still, there are disparities. Emma Ronsiek is a junior on the basketball team, nearly 50 years after when Coach Conry was also a junior playing for the same very team.
“I know that it wasn’t the same as it was, today especially, but I think things do need improvement whether that’s gear and travel and just budgets that the men’s teams get versus the women’s teams. But right now, it’s the best that it’s ever been. And I’m really excited. And I only think it’s going to go forward from now,” Ronsiek said.
Ronsiek pointed out that the women’s team flew commercial for this season while the men’s basketball team flew private.
“It’s just something that could be pushed a little bit because we do work hard. We made it to the Elite 8 and we’re in the gym every day working our butts off. I think it’s just the little things,” said the junior.
While Ronsiek and Coach Conry say they’re pleased with the developments so far, they are also both conservatively optimistic for finally getting female athletics on the same playing field as the men in the future. Coach Conry says that she’s seen Title IX provide opportunities for her athletes that benefit them years after playing their sport.
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