The birth of Title IX
FORTY YEARS AGO, Congress passed into law the landmark Title IX bill that required any educational program receiving federal funds to provide equal opportunities to both sexes, including in sports. Teri Mariani ’76—a former PSU student athlete, longtime coach, and Athletics Department administrator—has seen the before, the after, and the struggles to enforce Title IX. She retired from PSU in 2008, but continues to support the education and advancement of women in Portland.
Q & A WITH TERI MARIANI ‘76
Q: What were things like for women athletes at PSU before Title IX?
A: We didn’t have proper access to the training room. We had to have a trainer meet us in the lobby, put a paper bag over our heads, and lead us through the men’s locker room. We used the same uniforms for volleyball, basketball, and softball. We didn’t go to volleyball nationals my freshman year, because we couldn’t raise enough money. Those kinds of things just should never happen.
Q: Beyond sports, what changes have you seen as a result of Title IX?
A: It has been huge for women in all areas of education, particularly in terms of women getting into college. Women were sometimes refused by universities and only allowed in after all spots were filled by men. And forget about getting into the medical, law, or science fields. It was a huge problem, but now we take our rights for granted.
Q: Title IX changed legislation, but are hearts harder to change?
A: When you see a father whose daughter isn’t getting the same opportunities his son received or what he got when he was in high school, you’ll see him fighting for her. I really love it when that happens. It’s nice when you hear men say, “Hey, that’s not right.”
Q: What hasn’t changed for women in sports?
A: One of the worst men’s clubs is the International Olympic Committee. They have bylaws that say countries can’t participate if they don’t allow women on their teams. But Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow women, yet, every year they get to be in the Olympics. They talk a good game, but they’re probably the worst old boys’ network around.
Photo: A longtime softball coach, Teri Mariani won the most games of any PSU coach ever with more than 500 victories.