50 Years After Title IX: How Unified Messaging Sparked a Revolution
A little-known fact as Title IX celebrates its 50th anniversary: the University of Miami in 1973 became the first university in the nation to offer athletic scholarships to women. We cover it all here:
Title IX, the 1972 federal law mandating gender equity in educational institutions, marks its 50th anniversary on Thursday.
Paige Yaroshuk-Tews, 48, was named the University of Miami women’s tennis coach in 2001 and has a career record of 396-138 (.741). In the last 18 NCAA tournaments, she has led the Hurricanes to eight Elite Eight appearances and 14 Sweet 16 appearances. The Hurricanes went 19-6 (10-3 ACC) in 2022, finishing ninth in the ITA national rankings, the best year for the program since 2013. Yaroshuk-Tews, married with two children – Emma, 16, and Landon, 13 – played tennis at Miami Killian High and UCLA, where she played on an athletic scholarship. His father Ernie Sr. played baseball for legendary UM coach Ron Fraser and, along with Yaroshuk-Tews, is in the UM Sports Hall of Fame; Ernie Jr. played minor league baseball with the New York Yankees.
Paige Yaroshuk-Tews spent endless hours as young Kendall having body shards ripped from her by the neighborhood’s de facto nurse — her mother.
That’s what happens when second base in the makeshift baseball diamond you built with your dad and buddies is “a palm tree full of thorns,” she said.
Yaroshuk-Tews was a Title IX baby. She was 13 months after her birth when Title IX was enacted in the summer of 1972. But years later, she was still the only girl hitting baseballs, throwing soccer balls, and kicking balls. football with the boys – and only the boys.
“I don’t know what the girls were doing,” said Yaroshuk-Tews, the Hurricanes’ women’s tennis coach since 2001. “We played most of our sports outside of K-Land. From around 9 to 11, I was the only girl on our traveling soccer team because there weren’t many girls who wanted to throw elbows with the boys. I was also the only girl on the Little League baseball team. My dad and brother were baseball players, and I was getting my batting cuts after fucking balls for them.
Neighborhood basketball games in Yaroshuk Alley “would be so hot that we’d set up one of those huge, old-school VHS camcorders because we’d confuse each other and someone would come up for a lay-up and get sucked-punched.So every night after work, my dad would watch the video and break down the film to decide who actually won.
“I never grew up thinking there were restrictions on me as a girl,” she said. “But things seemed very different back then, not as competitive. Girls and women’s sports are a different beast now. I grew up in a house where you went and did your thing, boy or girl.
How did you benefit from Title IX?
“If there was no Title IX, there would be no women’s tennis program. If there was no Title IX, I don’t think you would talk to me, Patti [Rizzo]Amy [Deem] or Kate [Meier]. The reality is that the sports that make money are football and men’s basketball. If we were just running a business and talking dollars and cents, at the end of the day, I really don’t think you would be talking to any of us. So look at all the women at every level, whether you speak DI, D-II or D-III, who have had the opportunity to achieve their dreams. And this is the hard-hitting piece of Title IX.
You were a Title IX baby. How aware were you of this growing up?
“I never knew it existed. My parents were obviously aware of that, because they went through all the changes and all the legalities. But no one talked about it. I wasn’t brought up with people who always treated women worse than when it came to sports. Then when I went to college in the early 1990s, obviously I was educated about it, but honestly, I always had feeling, as a DI athlete, that I was treated exceptionally well.
Do you have a responsibility to move forward to ensure conversations and education continue regarding Title IX?
“My whole team is a group of educated women. You have to live in a box if you’re a DI athlete and haven’t heard of Title IX. I have a group of women who understand the importance and are grateful that the law has been passed. But over time, how we got here will fade more and more. That’s why it’s the responsibility of everyone who works with women in sport and in the workplace every day to keep talking about such an important topic.
This story was originally published June 22, 2022 8:45 a.m.