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Opinion

Readers React: Cheer our soccer heroes, but give credit to the champions of Title IX

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U.S. women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe kisses the World Cup trophy in New York after a ticker tape parade on July 10.
(Johannes Eisele / AFP-Getty Images)

To the editor: Members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team are rightly and fiercely proud to be accomplished and American. We thank them for giving us something to cheer about. But a great deal of credit belongs to another group of courageous people. (“Captivated by the U.S. women’s soccer team victory? Thank Title IX,” Opinion, July 10)

Title IX was passed into law 47 years ago as part of a package of education amendments proposed by Rep. Edith Green of Oregon, and given full-court press support by a broad coalition of women’s groups. The part about equal federal funding for women’s and men’s sports programs went almost unnoticed.

The language was general and as a result aroused little immediate notice. The strategy helped get the bill passed before opposition mobilized.

In the House, Reps. Patsy Mink of Hawaii, Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm of New York, Martha Griffiths of Michigan and Margaret Heckler of Massachusetts organized a bipartisan team to pass the legislation. Imagine that — bipartisan support!

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In the Senate, Birch Bayh of Indiana was the driving force. President Richard Nixon signed the package into law.

None of our champion soccer players were even alive when that other team of women scored for girls and athletics back then, but they deserve some of the credit — and some of our pride.

Jordan Mo, Medford, Ore.

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To the editor: While we celebrate the U.S. women’s soccer victory and the laudatory history of Title IX, let’s not forget the elephant in the room: college football.

With proportionality a primary measure of Title IX compliance, fielding a men’s football team (which has no NCAA women’s equivalent) often results in the death of men’s minor sports, such as gymnastics, fencing and track. Today, more than 100 colleges now offer women’s swimming teams but not men’s swimming teams.

Kip Fulbeck, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: The piece on Title IX was on the mark, but it omitted one important development: The year before Title IX was signed into law, the American Youth Soccer Organization started promoting girls’ soccer.

With Title IX coming into effect at the same time as a new youth sports organization was promoting a sport that had not been popular in this country, young women could get in on the ground floor, as it were, for American soccer. That gave American women a big jump on their international competition.

The combination of Title IX and AYSO gave American women a head start on their competition in a sport that American girls like to play. Now the rest of the world appears to be playing catch-up.

The advantage was gained, not by anything illegal or unethical, but by simply doing something right.

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Bill Seckler, Riverside

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