The Start of Women’s Basketball in Washington

Isabel Russak (’19) driving in the lane against Northwest. 2015-2016 season.

On June 23, 1972, Title IX was implemented as law. The text states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” After that, girls had to be given the same opportunities as guys, and this includes athletic opportunities. Yet in many schools didn’t give their girls’ teams the same status as the boys’ teams. When the girls’ teams were first established, schools preferred cheap options over quality. Some schools in Washington bought one set of uniforms for all the girls’ teams. Sometimes there would not be enough uniforms for the JV and Varsity teams and they would have to trade off on game nights. Some schools even gave out numbered pennies. Instead of trained coaches, inexperienced administration were encouraged to coach the girls teams while actual coaches were hired for the boys’ teams. Girls teams didn’t get prime time for games and just had fewer games scheduled. Officials weren’t excited about reffing girls games. Yet in 1974, just two years after Title IX, Washington had its first state tournament as a 16-team invitational tournament.

Summary of “Remembering the B: The History of the Washington State “B” Basketball Tournament” by Jim Stinson

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