A League of Her Own

RIP Ted Stevens: Sponsor of Title IX

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) walks into the Senate Chamber in the Capitol in Washington for the first vote of the night on October 1, 2008. (UPI Photo/Yuri Gripas) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

If you had told me, at any point in time before last week, that I would be dedicating part of LOHO's front page to the life and work of Senator Ted Stevens, I would have laughed you out of town.

Those of you who are familiar with my political leanings know that I agreed with Stevens about as much as Dennis Kucinich agrees with Sarah Palin. Plus, I loved making fun of his comment about the internet being a "series of tubes" more than just about anything else in life.

But recently, a loyal and beloved LOHO reader who worked for Senator Stevens made a comment about Ted Stevens and Title IX. Specifically, he asked why someone who held Title IX in such high esteem never gave Stevens, the co-sponsor of the Sentate bill, any credit for it.

The answer is because I had no idea he sponsored it.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the 1972 federal statute known as Title IX, it provides as follows:

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...
--United States Code Section 20
In short, high schools and colleges who wanted to continue to receive federal funds had to do one of the following:


  • Providing athletic participation opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the student enrollment, OR
  • Demonstrating a continual expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex, OR
  • Demonstrating full and effective accommodation of the interest and ability of underrepresented sex.



Thought Title IX makes no mention of sports specifically, and has been used to provide women with equal access to math and science programs and scholarships, it's best known for the impact it's had on women's athletics.

If you were a girl who grew up in my mother's generation, you had basically 2-3 high school and college sports options: cheerleading (recently declared NOT to be a sport by a federal court), field hockey, and volleyball (if you were lucky).  But by the time the girls of my generation came of age, Title IX gave our schools three options when it came to women's athletics: 1) let us play with the boys (which some of us did); 2) start a girls' team, or 3) refuse to do either and lose federal funding.

Turns out that federal funding is a powerful motivator.

Today, those of us who entered high school and college post-1972 refer to ourselves as the daughters of Title IX. We are many. Without Title IX, there would be no Jennie Finch, no US World Cup Champion Soccer Team, no WNBA, no Misty May Trainor and Kerry Walsh, no Lindsay Vonn. Almost every famous female athlete in the US today benefitted from Title IX in one way or another. Not to mention women scientists, mathematicians, and computer analysts.

For me, no Title IX would have meant no years of high school and college soccer, volleyball, and diving. Years that I treasure and which helped make me the person I am today. Years that I still think about almost every day, in some capacity or another, and that always leave me with a smile on my face, even while I'm rubbing the soccer-induced bone bruises on my shins that will never completely go away.

So from one daughter of Title IX to one of its sponsors, thank you, Ted Stevens.




Recent Posts


Leave a comment


Aisle424 said:


Let's have a moment of silence on the internet tubes for Senator Stevens. *disables wi-fi*

JulieDiCaro said:


(turns on airplane mode) while getting pedicure.

AndCounting said:


loads cached copy of the fail whale.

JulieDiCaro said:



thisyearcub said:


I bet Ted wasn't happy when it was ruled that cheerleading wasn't a sport. My favorite story of him was when I read he once wore an Incredible Hulk tie during a Senate showdown. That's aces in my book!

gravedigger said:


Those days were a highlight of my time working with him. His (favorite) daughter Lilly gave it to him, and he said he'd wear it one day when he had a tough battle to face. It turned out to be a debate on ANWR, and the press noticed and ate it up. Soon, the company began sending him all kinds of Hulk memorabilia. When we closed the office, we found a stash of giant Hulk fists, and everyone took one home.

sloan peterson said:

default userpic local-auth auth-type-mt

Well-written Cubbiejulie....

gravedigger said:


This was really nice, Julie. Thanks.

Stevens used to tell us that the reason he felt so strongly about this was because his daughter wanted to play baseball. The league told him "they can play softball," which made him irate. As he had the power to do something about it, he did.

JulieDiCaro said:


you're welcome. :)

gravedigger said:


I now do freelance work for the staffer responsible for his comments. I say that because she explained to him that the internet was like a series of tubes. He trusted his staff and ran with it.

The thing is, this woman calls me because she can't figure out how to plug a mouse into her computer.

gravedigger said:


Also, kudos on finding a rare picture of the Boss smiling. His countenance was dour by nature, which most people assumed meant he was always in a foul mood. As one of my friends and fellow Stevens staffers said today, people don't realize that it was just his "walking face."

Max Power said:


Good work, Red.

Leave a Comment?

Some HTML is permitted: a, strong, em

What your comment will look like:


what will you say?

Most Active Pages Right Now

ChicagoNow.com on Facebook

A League of Her Own on Facebook

A League of Her Own - A Chicago Cubs Blog on Facebook