STILLWATER, Okla. — If you subtract Oklahoma State’s success on the football field, you could argue the university has become a powerhouse in women’s sports.
Consider these national successes.
The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team won the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in April.
The Cowgirls’ soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament for the past two years.
OSU’s women’s tennis and golf teams reached NCAA regional tournaments this year. The Cowgirls women’s equestrian team won the Big 12 title this year and finished as the reserve grand champion in the NCAA championships.
The Cowgirls’ softball team reached the Women’s College World Series in 2011.
These teams and all women’s athletic teams most likely wouldn’t have a gym or fields for practice and games without Title IX — the act passed in 1972 that created equal participation requirements for colleges and high schools that receive federal funding. Title IX applies to public and private colleges and universities because most grants and student loans are federally funded.
Though it was approved during the days of the National Organization of Women and the Equal Rights Amendment, Title IX provides opportunity instead of gender equality in athletics.
Oklahoma State women’s tennis coach Chris Young said Title IX changed the sports culture by opening college and high school athletics to females.
“It has given opportunities to female players,” he said.
It didn’t open doors. It built them, creating women’s soccer, basketball, golf, tennis and other teams where none had existed.
Larry Sanchez founded the OSU equestrian program in 1999, and has led the Cowgirls to national crowns in 2000, 2003 and 2004. They were reserve grand champions in 2005, 2006 and 2012.
“We had some success and that helped us seek out and find high-quality riders,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said Title IX didn’t just open the door to women’s athletics. It created opportunities for females to go to college and find success in business and industry.