- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, often known for its impact on women’s sports and the fight against sexual harassment and assault.
“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 educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
As part of the Tribune’s coverage, our Colleen Kane spoke with coaches who led their programs before — and after — the changes.
In the decades before Title IX, girls played six-on-six basketball, which basically reduced it to a half-court game so they didn’t overexert themselves. There were postal tournaments, in which girls recorded individual results and mailed them in, so they didn’t fall under the wicked spell of in-person competition.
“I never knew whether to set the girls down and tell them how awful it used to be — or never say anything because why would you assume that you’re less than anybody else?” former St. Francis volleyball coach Peg Kopec told Kane. “I always had trouble with, do I tell them anything and then that might feed into how they’re (viewed as) second-class citizens? But they need to know a little bit how it was fought for — so you appreciate it.”
And then there are the trailblazers: Yolanda Griffith. Grace Comiskey. Margaret Donahue. Eliza Green Williams. Marguerite Norris. Ishwara Glassman Chrein. Virginia McCaskey. Mabel Landry Staton. Ola Bundy. Dianne Durham. Dorothy Gaters. Janet Lynn.
— Amanda Kaschube, Director of Content/Sports
Chicago Tribune 175th anniversary coverage | Quiz: Test your Chicago history knowledge | Pulitzer Prizes | Tribune newspaper carriers through the decades share their stories | Limited edition mugs, T-shirts, hoodies and a tote bag for Chicago Tribune’s 175th anniversary | New book commemorates the Chicago Tribune’s 175th anniversary with more than 100 historic front pages
Meet 50 women in Illinois who have impacted sports on — and off — the field of play
The firsts. The pioneers. The powerful executives. The humble high school coaches. The college leaders. The new generation of athletes furthering the fight for women’s place in sports.
20 influential women in Chicago sports media history
The most powerful anecdote in the legend of Jeannie Morris was about the time she traveled to Minnesota to cover a Bears-Vikings game and was barred from the press box — because women and children weren’t allowed.
Undeterred, Morris covered the game in a blizzard from a seat above the box.
At a time when Title IX was helping girls and women gain more opportunities on sports fields and courts, Morris was helping to fight battles in the media as one of the most influential women sports broadcasters in Chicago history. Those fights included being barred from access at the Indianapolis 500 trials and being called “a shrimp female” while Ted Williams ordered her out of the dugout.
Timeline: 50 years progress — at times — across the US
A timeline of key events before, during after after the 1972 passage of the landmark U.S. law known as Title IX.
After a tennis career as ‘the only one,’ Katrina Adams is now on a mission to open doors for women in sports
“I had to work twice as hard to make sure I did things right, that I did things well so that I could represent. And that’s hard. That’s not easy to do when you’re the only one because you know that you’re not just there for yourself or your family or your company or organization, whoever it is, but also for a culture and a whole race of people.”
Katrina Adams apparently was born for such a role.
Adams’ mother, Yvonne, who along with her father was a teacher and principal in Chicago Public Schools, used to tell Adams she came out of the womb a leader.
Adams always had an air of confidence about her. She was instinctive, nosy and able to duplicate almost anything she watched, especially as an athlete.
Katrina Adams comes home as tennis’ history-making leader
Commentary: 50 years later, Title IX gains are fragile. And there’s much more work to do in the next 50 years.
Margaret Holt was the first female sports editor at the Chicago Tribune from 1993-95.
She writes: “We all benefit as the young women who grew up under Title IX prosper now. Title IX has always been about more than sports. We need to support women and realize that it’s still tough.”
8 things to know about Virginia McCaskey, owner of the Bears
Pro football was struggling to build an audience, so George Halas, Red Grange and the Bears went on a 19-game, 66-day barnstorming tour to drum up interest during the winter of 1925.
And 3-year-old Virginia McCaskey went along for the ride.
“We made the first part of the tour with my mother and her sister, my Aunt Lil, to help along,” she told the Tribune. “And after the games in Florida I think mom said: ‘This is it (for me), you can go on to California.’”
Virginia McCaskey rarely does interviews. Listen to our podcast here.
What drives Bears owner Virginia McCaskey, the NFL’s first lady?
Chicago golfer Margaret Abbott was the 1st American woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics — but she never knew it
Margaret Abbott recognized her win at the Prix de la ville de Compiègne in France was significant.
What she didn’t know, however, is that it was a monumental moment in Olympic history that would make her the first American woman to win an event at the Games.
Here’s a look back at how the young, athletic socialite achieved minor fame — then evaded it — for generations.
Vintage Chicago Tribune: 4 Illinois athletes who won GOLD at the Winter Olympics
Join our Chicagoland history Facebook group for more from Chicago’s past.
Sign up to receive the Vintage Chicago Tribune newsletter at chicagotribune.com/newsletters for more photos and stories from the Tribune’s archives.