The Oregonian: Title IX, 40 years later: Teri Mariani, in her words
Author: Lindsay Schnell, The Oregonian
Posted: June 18, 2012

Read the original story in The Oregonian here. 

40 years after Title IX: In their words

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 education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance ...

Though the opening lines of Title IX make no mention of sports, one of the landmark legislation's greatest legacies is found on playing fields across the nation. This week, in commemoration of the law's enactment on June 23, 1972, The Oregonian presents a series of as-told-to pieces written from reporter Lindsay Schnell's interviews with key figures in Oregon sports through the ensuing decades.
Join the discussion and share the stories of Title IX's impact in your life in the comments below, or email us.
Sunday: Teri Mariani, Portland State
Monday: Anna Maria Lopez, St. Mary's Academy
Tuesday: Brad Smith, Oregon City High School
Wednesday:Megan Rapinoe, University of Portland
Thursday: Jaime Nared, Westview High School

Title IX, 40 years later: Teri Mariani, in her words

I was a sophomore at Portland State in the fall of 1971 when our volleyball team qualified for the national tournament. What an accomplishment -- and what a disappointment. 

In those days before Title IX, we had to raise our own money. We did everything: Washed airplanes at the airport, gave tours of funeral homes, had bake sales. It still wasn't enough. We didn't raise enough money. We didn't get to go. 

The hard part was that if any men's team needed to travel, they got the funding while we had to sit and watch. 

It was really different for women then. We had the same uniform for volleyball, basketball and softball. In the early '70s at Portland State, there was only one entrance to the training room, and it was through the men's locker room. As a female athlete, if you needed to get treatment, you would call the trainer to meet you in the lobby, and he would put a paper bag over your head and lead you through the men's locker room. 

Can you imagine that now? 

At first, I didn't think much about whether it was fair. As women, we were so excited to have the opportunity to play that we didn't complain when the men's teams flew everywhere and stayed two to a room while we drove all over and packed four into a room. But in my second two years as an athlete at PSU, after Title IX had passed, I became a lot more aware of what was going on. 

I became an advocate. 

Things changed, but it was gradual. I coached at Portland State for 29 years, and I stayed because we had an athletic director, Roy Love, who believed in Title IX. It wasn't easy, though. 

One of my jobs as a head coach of a female sport, and later, when I was the senior women's administrator, was to make sure our school treated female athletes fairly. There were a lot of battles behind closed doors. 

Sometimes I felt like I was on an island by myself. There was a time I leaned toward filing a lawsuit. I didn't want to sue. Who wants to sue? But sometimes it felt like you had to make that threat to get anything done. 

Luckily, when we moved up to Division I in the 1996-97 school year a lot changed. Now we had a Title IX plan in place to make sure we were compliant, and checks and balances to hold us accountable. And look at what that did -- just in the past five to six years, the growth of women's sports at PSU has been incredible. They put us on the map, and I feel so much pride because of it. 

As a coach, sometimes I felt like my athletes took for granted all the luxuries they had, so every five years or so I would give them a little history lesson. They need to understand that as recently as 1991, when we had one of the best softball teams in the country, there were days that we practiced on a church blacktop parking lot because we didn't have a field. 

Girls in sports today can't imagine there was a time when they didn't have opportunities, just like you and I can't imagine a time when women couldn't vote. Title IX opened doors for women like never before -- on and off the field. I wouldn't have had a career without it. 

It's great that playing sports and being equal is so natural to today's generation. But we have to know our history. It's time to re-awaken people. 

-- As told to Lindsay Schnell