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The Commonwealth

Panel at University of Kentucky reflects on Title IX 50th anniversary

UK Zoom meeting

A panel discussion in Lexington about the 50th anniversary of Title IX included comments related to female sports participation, allocating resources, and television coverage. Kathy DeBoer, who spent many years in UK athletics administration, is executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. When it comes to the landmark federal act, DeBoer said there is still work to do.

“But, we have made enough progress so that 50 years later most of female student athletes don’t even know what the law is, must less, it is why they are there,” said DeBoer.

DeBoer said additional effort is needed when it comes to allocating resources including training time and facilities for female sports.

The federal act prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Jo Hannafin is a retired orthopedic surgeon and doctor who served at multiple Olympic Games.

“I would comment I think on the collegiate level, division one level, I think there’s equity when it comes to men and women in sports. I think when you get to high school, I still don’t think we’re there,” said Hannafin.

Also participating in the discussion was UK Sports Medicine Physician Mary Lloyd Ireland. She said there can be concerns when still-healing female athletes are urged to continue competing when scholarships are on the line. DeBoer said equal resources shouldn’t mean a sport-to-sport comparison. For instance, she noted more girls are interested in volleyball competitions.

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