Title IX special: In the beginning ...

Title IX special: In the beginning ...

A rundown of the academic years that Illini women's athletic teams started competition under the sponsorship of the University of Illinois Athletic Association (now known as the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics):


Basketball 1974-75 Defeated Eastern Illinois 57-51 in OT in first home game (Jan. 23, 1975, at the Assembly Hall)

Cross-country 1977-78 Compiled 13-0 record in dual meets during first four seasons before finally losing

Golf 1974-75 Just three coaches in program's history: Betsy Kimpel, Paula Smith and Renee Slone

Gymnastics 1974-75 Urbana native Nancy Thies, a 1972 Olympian, was Illini's first All-American in 1976

Soccer 1997-98 Program was in NCAA tournament (and won first-round match) within four years of its startup

Softball 1999-2000 NCAA Division I independent in first season; began competing as Big Ten member in 2001

Swimming 1974-75 Program won AIAW state meet three years in a row beginning in 1976

Tennis 1974-75 Coach Peggy Pruitt's Illini went 6-0 in dual meets in program's debut season

Track & field 1974-75 1976 team won five of first six meets under first-year coach Jessica Dragicevic

Volleyball 1974-75 Program posted winning records in each of its first five seasons


— The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women served as the national governing body for women's college athletics from 1971 to '82. The NCAA assumed that role for member schools at the start of the 1981-82 academic year. After the 1981-82 academic year, the AIAW discontinued sponsorship of national championships and later was legally dissolved.

— Big Ten member schools affiliated their women's athletic programs with the conference beginning in the 1981-82 academic year.

Sections (3):Illini Sports, Sports, Other


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jgrout wrote on July 11, 2012 at 8:07 pm

In 1981-1982, the AIAW and NCAA fought over control of women's sports to the point of staging rival national championships.  As discussed in the article, the AIAW lost.

One of the linchpins of the feminist coaching agenda is a halcyon portrayal of the AIAW and the individual teams participating in it as organizations by, for and about feminists and feminism.  These days, the most ardent proponents of the agenda call for women's sports to break away from male control by seceding from the NCAA (and, within member institutions, from male athletic directors) while (somehow) keeping all the money and exposure from events like the Women's Final Four in basketball (e.g., because some hypothetical future President and Congress would strengthen Title IX into an overt entitlement for feminist-run women's sports rather than just for women's sports).

At the college level, the agenda is a silly fantasy... women's sports aren't going to give up the money and they wouldn't be able to keep it once they left the NCAA... and the WNBA model (built on the pressure feminist groups exert against NBA franchises to operate WNBA franchises at a steep loss) will eventually fail, no doubt accompanied by feminists and their supporters crying all over the front and editorial pages of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, etc.

In my home area, Tara VanDerveer, the Stanford WBB head coach, is deified for preserving much of the feminist coaching agenda (she's not a political crusader, but she has no men on staff beyond male practice players and stands aloof from those politically incorrect Stanford women's sports that her feminist pals in the sports departments of the area's dailies refuse to cover... including the WVB team).  I don't want to go where Loren Tate went... or say all of what he said... about former Illinois WBB head coach Kathy Lindsey and her program, but I think he would identify her as someone who embraced a feminist coaching agenda.