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Before Title IX, 20 trailblazers launched women’s intercollegiate sports in Kansas

On June 23, 1972, President Nixon enacted Title IX, prohibiting gender discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Title IX was widely seen as the springboard for high school and college women’s sports to get to where they are today, but the fight for equality is far from over. Every Thursday night at 10 p.m. before the 50th anniversary of the law’s passage, 13 Sports will honor the game-changing women for women’s and women’s sports in Kansas.

“IX at 50: the pioneers of women’s sport in Kansas”

EMPORIA, Kansas (WIBW) – The start of women’s varsity sports in Kansas can be attributed to just one reunion, four years before Title IX died in a cabin in Emporia.

“In that debut reunion, and throughout the years since, there were at least 20 women who I would call the pioneers of modern athletics and varsity athletic competition in Kansas,” Ginny said. Kansas Wesleyan Hall of Fame member Bevan. “We thought we have a lot of young women who want to participate in a more interschool type of competition once they have finished and won their intramural. “

Bevan was one of 20 female physical education teachers who took matters into their own hands.

“This is the start of what we’ve called ‘AKWIS:’ Kansas Association for Women in Sport, ‘she said.

The following year, 1969, female students had an official league in which to compete.

Bevan coached volleyball, basketball, and softball in Kansas Wesleyan until the mid-1970s.

“We played KU, we played K-State, nobody recruited, nobody had a budget, but we played anyway,” she said. “We were driving cars. I remember my students buying our own t-shirts and having bake sales to get the money to buy our travel and food.

Title IX adopted in 1972.

“The rest is kind of history,” Bevan said. “Title IX really gave us the ability to have the funding and the opportunities. “

The fight for fairness was only just beginning, but thanks to Bevan and the women in attendance at this historic gathering, Sunflower State’s women’s college sports already had a foundation to build on.

“Sport offers a lot of opportunities for leadership, teamwork, individual growth, goal setting,” said Bevan. “I am just very happy with the progress of the women, but I hope they will continue to grow.”

Bevan was inducted into the Kansas Wesleyan Hall of Fame in 1987 and is the namesake of the school’s female athlete of the year award.

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