Title IX winners: Women discuss how law impacted their lives

Published: Sunday, June 24 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

But Carr wanted to fight.

She and Stevenson called the district, made their case, and the girls were allowed to hold their one-day tournament. But they really didn't have any leverage as the year was 1970 and if administrators wanted to keep girls on the sidelines, there was nothing to stop them.

Luckily, Carr and other female athletes had some allies like Stevenson who worked hard before and after Title IX to create opportunities for young women.

Carr, now athletic director at Salt Lake Community College, said every year they'd ask the Utah High School Activities Association to sanction a girls gymnastics tournament. And every year they'd be turned down.

"The biggest catalyst was around 1970 or 71, at East High and Judge, some girls were allowed to play on the boys teams during region," Carr said. "They played in the league but weren't allowed to play tennis."

Those parents began threatening lawsuits just about the same time the federal government passed Title IX.

Once the law was passed, that's when the real fight began, she said.

"The high school association came to me as the president of Division of Girls and Women's Sports (which had no ties to any official sports organization), and asked me to help them determine which sports they'd sanction," she said. "That was the most painful, ugly experience of my life. All of these men sitting around the table and they would literally say things like, 'Girls should be home cooking and cleaning,' 'If girls play sports they'll become more masculine,' 'If girls play sports, their uteruses will fall out.'

Carr's response was always the same. If sports are so good for boys, why wouldn't they be just as beneficial for girls?

"It was very confusing and very hurtful," she said. "The legislation couldn't force people to change feelings and emotions. It took years, and we're still dealing with people thinking that men lost programs because of Title IX."

Even a decade after the law passed, she said she was chewed out by male counterparts for daring to use practice facilities for women's teams.

"I had several coaches bring me to tears because, heaven forbid, I dared to use their facilities," she said. "But I have had people come around and apologize and that does mean a lot."

Carr is acknowledged as one of the most influential women in Utah sports. She was inducted into the Utah Softball Hall of Fame, the Utah Coaches of Merit Hall of Fame and the UHSSA Officials Hall of Fame. In 2007 she was named to the UHSSA "Circle of Fame." Finally in 2009 she was awarded the National Administator of the Year. She coordinated volleyball officials for the Western Athletic and Mountain West conferences and is region director of NJCAA Region 18. She is also chairperson for NJCAA Softball.

She believes the law is as necessary today as it was 40 years ago and cites decisions by local college presidents to eliminate women's programs.

"I think it would be devastating," she said. "There are some parts that aren't always good, like coed PE classes … But girls finally had an identity. Especially with budgets as tight as they are, if the law wasn't there, this would be an opportunity to get rid of some of the women's sports."

Candace Workman

At 21, Candace Workman knows more about Title IX's protection than most women twice her age.

The Olympic hopeful began wrestling when she was 7, after her younger brother enrolled in a camp.

"I was just in this stage of trying a lot of things," she said. "I was in gymnastics, drill team, soccer, and I asked my parents if I could try wrestling. They thought, 'OK, let her get it out of her system.' But wrestling was the thing that stuck. I don't know why. I loved it ever since I started training."

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