ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – It’s been 50 years since Title IX became law, expanding gender equity and leveling the playing field of sports for both men and women nationwide for generations to come.
92-year-old Bev Ball never got picked for a team because there were no teams for girls.
“In my dreams starting out, I would have never seen us be this far in athletes,” said Ball.
But Ball did get the chance to coach, inspiring so many others.
“I feel like I kind of owe it to the next generation to keep this going,” said McMurry track and field and cross-country coach, Rexi Parcells.
The same goes for collegiate McMurry athlete, Aubrey Batten, who says before coming to McMurry she never experienced playing any sports.
“I can’t imagine our world or my life without them having fought that fight,” said Batten.
Passed in 1972, Title IX opened doors for millions of women to play sports and attend college.
“When I was in college in the 50’s there were no sports for women except if we were physical education majors, we did the sport in class,” said Ball.
Since then, all of that has changed allowing men and women to compete at a college level.
“It goes to show you the opportunities made possible for women were made possible by people who had to sacrifice a little bit but got the ball rolling and it’s fun to see the results,” said former McMurry coach, Pug Parris.
Parris was teary-eyed when thinking about the opportunities her granddaughter would now have but blessed to be part of getting the ball rolling.
“Honestly, you learn a lot in life about being patient and staying with your advocacy and keep chiseling at the truth until everything emerges the way it needs to be,” said Parris.
At McMurry University, student-athletes, as well as coaches say they are grateful to see how far we have come.
“I had such a great experience in college and college athletics, and I think I really just want to give that to the next group because it was so impactful, everything I got to learn,” said coach Parcells.
“Thank you for all the work you’ve done, thank you for the opportunities you’ve provided. Being able to go to school and being able to compete has been such an amazing part of my life,” said Batten.
Even though it has been 50 years since Title IX became law, Ball says more change is needed.
“Women are going to have to be respected more or given a chance to prove themselves,” said Ball.
Although the bill is commonly associated with athletics, the law is actually much broader; prohibiting sex discrimination in all university programs and activities, from admissions and recruiting to financial aid, academic programs, and even sexual harassment.