Sunday July 3rd, 2022 2:00PM

Q&A: Billie Jean King on Title IX's 50th anniversary

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Billie Jean King admired a portrait of Patsy Mink, considered the “Mother of Title IX,” at the U.S. Capitol on the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

"She knew exclusion firsthand and she had the confidence and leadership to challenge and change discrimination through the law,” King said at the portrait unveiling in Statuary Hall in Washington on Thursday.

Title IX, which bans sex discrimination in any education program or activity that receives federal funds, allowed more women into universities and expanded sports participation. There's still work to do: 1.1 million more boys play sports in high school; women made up 44% of college athletes in 2021.

Donna Lopiano, a Title IX expert in more than 40 court cases and former women's athletic director at Texas, says “90% of institutions are out of compliance” at the Division I level. Title IX requires equitable scholarships and sports roster spots based on the gender ratio of the student population.

King, a champion of gender equality for more than a half century, won 39 Grand Slam tennis titles and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She recently spoke to The Associated Press about the anniversary. Here are her insights, edited and condensed.

AP: In 1972, women could barely attend college, let alone play sports. What do you recall about the culture when Title IX was passed?

KING: It’s really an educational amendment because we had classroom quotas before 1972. The quotas were 5% of the class could be women and schools would turn people away. Places like Stanford or if you wanted to be a doctor at Harvard. I was a pre-Title IX college kid and worked two jobs. Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith had full scholarships (to play tennis). In those 37 words of Title IX is the word “activity.” That word is the only reason, really, we have women’s sports. (Then-Indiana Republican) Sen. Birch Bayh said they almost didn’t put “activity” into the law. As a catch-all, they said, “Let’s just leave it in, you never know.” We have 60% women going to college today.

AP: A year later, you famously beat self-proclaimed chauvinist Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match viewed by millions on TV. Why was the win so important?

KING: I do think it helped push the idea of equality and women’s sports and scholarships. I knew it was about social change and we were only in our third year of professional tennis. I wanted to change the hearts and minds of the country to believe in Title IX, believe that women deserved equality. We couldn’t get a credit card on our own when I played Bobby. When I started the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974, I said we have to be the guardian angels of Title IX and really help protect it.

AP: Since the passage of Title IX, what progress is most obvious and what areas still need work?

KING: I think probably Title IX has helped suburban white girls the most. In the next 50 years, we really have to concentrate on getting more and more girls of color. We’ve got to make sure we take care of girls with disabilities. I know a lot of schools are not in compliance. The Office of Civil Rights is supposed to enforce everything. It’s very small, not enough people to be a proper police force.

AP: What’s your opinion of transgender people participating in sports?

KING: We have to help the LGBT community and especially trans athletes. I’m very big on inclusion, so I want everyone to have a chance to play, but I also want it to be fair. Some people tend to think they shouldn’t be allowed at all. I always worry about every person having a chance to play and compete. It’s not cut and dry. Those things are for the next 50 years, because it’s still about equality and equity.

AP: You recently invested in the new pro women’s soccer team Angel City FC in Los Angeles, along with Natalie Portman, Mia Hamm and others. Do you think female ownership is the wave of the future?

KING: (Wife) Ilana (Kloss) and I went to the first Angel City game, it was amazing, they sold out. It’s the first soccer team run mostly by women, along with Serena's (Williams) husband (Alexis Ohanian). Absolutely, I want more and more women to be owners in everything. We also are proud to be part-owners of the Dodgers. I’d like to see more professional leagues in softball and ice hockey. I’m encouraging girls to become owners — you have power, you can make decisions.


For more on Title IX’s impact, see AP’s full package: https://apnews.com/hub/title-ix Video timeline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdgNI6BZpw0

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, College Sports, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Q&A: Billie Jean King on Title IX's 50th anniversary
It's the 50th anniversary of Title IX
12:46PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Uvalde victim's sister pleads for gun safety measures
The sister of a 9-year-old girl killed in the Uvalde school shooting rampage tearfully pleaded with Texas lawmakers to pass gun safety legislation and questioned why so many security measures failed
12:44PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Live updates | Reaction to Supreme Court's gun decision
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on a gun law “deeply destructive” in a tweet
12:44PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Kadri scores in OT in return, Avs move to brink of title
Nazem Kadri scored at 12:02 of overtime — perhaps with too many Colorado players on the ice — and the Avalanche beat Tampa Bay 3-2 on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to move within a victory of dethroning the two-time defending champion Lightning
12:10PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Maurice took an unusual path to becoming Florida's coach
Paul Maurice’s journey toward becoming the new coach of the Florida Panthers included a fortuitous flick of the remote control, plus was aided by a college admissions department
11:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden administration moves to expand Title IX protections
The Biden administration has proposed a dramatic overhaul of campus sexual assault rules
11:19AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Serena Williams wins 1st match of comeback after year away
Serena Williams has won the first match of her comeback
5:46PM ( 1 day ago )
Hurkacz beats top-ranked Medvedev to win Halle Open
Hubert Hurkacz upset top-ranked Daniil Medvedev on Sunday to win the Halle Open and underline his credentials as a contender for Wimbledon two years running
12:23PM ( 4 days ago )
Naomi Osaka won't play at Wimbledon, citing Achilles tendon
Naomi Osaka has pulled out of Wimbledon for the second consecutive year
11:27AM ( 5 days ago )
AP Online Tennis
Hogs hang on to beat Ole Miss, force 2nd CWS bracket final
Brady Slavens’ home run to the deepest part of the park gave Arkansas the lead and the Razorbacks held on for a 3-2 win in the College World Series after Mississippi loaded the bases with none out in the bottom of the ninth inning
11:25PM ( 13 hours ago )
Sooners off to College World Series finals after beating A&M
Oklahoma is heading to the College World Series finals after beating Texas A&M 5-1
10:26PM ( 14 hours ago )
Swimming's new transgender policy could impact other sports
Bans on transgender women in swimming and rugby this week opened the door for track and field to consider following suit in what could turn into a wave of policy changes in Olympic sports
4:57PM ( 20 hours ago )
College Sports
Coco Gauff's ranking to career-high 13th; Nadal up to 4th
American teenager Coco Gauff has moved up to a career-best No. 13 in the WTA rankings after her runner-up finish to No. 1 Iga Swiatek at the French Open
3:52AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Foot pain leaves French Open champ Nadal's future uncertain
French Open champion Rafael Nadal says he needed multiple injections to dull the pain in his left foot before matches and unless he can find another solution for the chronic problem, he won’t be able to play at Wimbledon and isn’t sure about his future in tennis
3:02PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Champ at 19, champ at 36: Nadal earns 14th French Open title
Rafael Nadal beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the French Open final for his 14th championship at Roland Garros and 22nd Grand Slam title overall
1:41PM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Sports - Women's Tennis
Uvalde victim's sister pleads for gun safety measures
The sister of a 9-year-old girl killed in the Uvalde school shooting rampage tearfully pleaded with Texas lawmakers to pass gun safety legislation and questioned why so many security measures failed
12:44PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Live updates | Reaction to Supreme Court's gun decision
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on a gun law “deeply destructive” in a tweet
12:44PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Afghans bury dead, dig for survivors of devastating quake
Villagers rushed to bury the dead and dug by hand through the rubble of their homes in search of survivors of a powerful earthquake in eastern Afghanistan
12:40PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Gun bill on road to passage as Senate overcomes GOP delays
The Senate has pushed a bipartisan gun violence bill to the brink of passage
12:36PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Tanzania's Masaai demand Indigenous rights in UN framework
Tanzania’s Maasai people, resisting government pressure to leave their ancestral homes in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, have presented their demands for Indigenous land rights to negotiators in Nairobi finalizing the proposed U.N. global biodiversity framework
12:32PM ( 36 minutes ago )