Title IX winners: Women discuss how law impacted their lives

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

Dain, 40, feels very fortunate to have had the opportunities she did, most of which came from her competing internationally. She was offered several college scholarships for gymnastics after she failed to make the Olympic team in 1988.

"I think I never even contemplated the benefit of Title lX because I basically had my pick of where I wanted to go," she said. "Women's gymnastics had always been a pretty stable sport. It didn't even cross my mind that I was going to school on scholarship because of Title lX. I was very fortunate and I am very grateful I was able to get my education because of gymnastics."

Dain is like the majority of women who went to college on an athletic scholarship in that she chose to work in a profession unrelated to sports. She is an assistant U.S. Attorney in Salt Lake City, but also spent several years as a police officer with the Los Angeles and West Valley City police departments.

Despite working in a non-athletic career, sports is still an important part of her life. It was skiing with in a police officer's league that brought her to Salt Lake City and lured her to the Beehive state for good.

"Athletics is the foundation for everything I've done since being a gymnast," she said.

Dain is much more familiar with the downside of Title lX — the negative impact it had on men's opportunities.

"I'm all for girls and women's equality," said Dain. "But the sad part for me is that when I really felt the impact of Title lX was when they started scraping men's sports. I was a gymnast at UCLA and I saw a very storied men's gymnastics program get wiped out."

This is a program, she points out that produced Olympic gymnasts like Peter Vidmar, Mitch Gaylord and Tim Daggett were among the men who helped the Bruins win two national titles, as well as represented the U.S. on Olympic Teams in the 90s before the program was discontinued in the mid-90s.

"That program went away because of Title lX," she said.

She saw them add women's sports, even some very obscure sports, while cutting popular and successful men's programs to meet the ratio demands of the federal law.

"It was very sad," she said. "I don't know that we talked about it directly, but it was very clear that was the reason they were being cut."

Dain would like to see protection and opportunities for women without reduction in the opportunities for men. One solution, she suggests, would be to exempt football from the ratio requirements.

"Football is so radically different from every other sport," she said. "You'll never be able to equalize across the board with football in the mix. It has to be it's own program, and you could still require some of that money be used to pay for other sports."

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