Prior to 1972, women weren't given equal academic opportunity, meaning no scholarships or funding for female sports.
Thanks to Title IX, we've seen women's athletics grow tremendously. Brandon softball coach Heidi Hill reflected on her journey, including her unique roots in Caledonia.
"I actually played one year of high school baseball," said Hill. "I played slow pitch softball too, but we didn't have fast pitch when I was growing up. My brother played baseball and I grew up with it. All the boys at that time I had played with through time growing up. Actually, my first experience of playing competitive ball period was playing competitive baseball."
After high school, Hill wanted to continue being a competitive athlete, but another bump in the road as her school options were limited.
"Mississippi University for Women, which is where I went, Delta State, and Mississippi College were the only schools that offered fast pitch at that time," explained Hill. "I'm just as good an athlete, or was, as the boys I grew up with. It's not my fault I was born a girl. I shouldn't be treated any differently. I have the same dreams to play ball at the highest level, just like anybody else."
Notice no Division 1 schools were on her list, and keep in mind, Hill went to college in the early 1990's. That's nearly 2 decades after Title IX. So although the law was helping, it still took quite some time before people bought in to women's sports.
Mississippi College softball coach Brooke O'Hair played at Mississippi State from 1999-2003..
"The past twenty years have just been mind blowing with the amount of money put in to the programs," said O'Hair. "From youth all the way to up to college and professional ball now. Multiple sports, it's just a huge thing for girls to look up to. Title IX has changed so many peoples' lives. It's unbelievable what it has done for us."
The groundbreaking federal law that prohibits gender discrimination allowed those two women to pursue their dreams. Without it, their life stories would've been written much differently.
Happy 45th anniversary to Title IX.
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