INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA, in conjunction with ESPN and Creative Street Entertainment, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX and recognize individuals who helped shape the ground-breaking equity law with the documentary premiere Sporting Chance presented by Northwestern Mutual. The documentary will debut on ESPN2 at noon ET June 23, the anniversary date of Title IX.
The one-hour documentary tells the emotional story of the landmark passage of Title IX and explores how this law has increased educational opportunities and athletic participation, specifically for women, during the past 40 years. Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that 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.”
“When reflecting on great moments of 20th century civil rights history, certainly 1972 and the enactment of Title IX was a defining point,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “Title IX is the Magna Carta for women in higher education. It provides for women what had previously been denied — opportunity. Because of Title IX, my daughter has more opportunities than my wife had available. And my granddaughter, more than my daughter.”
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The documentary features interviews with the trailblazers who fought tirelessly for the passage of Title IX; women who were on campus during the early days of Title IX; and student-athletes who have benefitted from Title IX and achieved success through sports in its 40 years. The documentary also features personal stories about breaking down gender barriers in athletics and academics in the 1960s and 1970s from such prominent figures as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh, former NCAA student-athlete and Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy, Olympian Donna de Varona, former student-athlete and International Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, award-winning sports columnist Christine Brennan, former chief executive officer of The Women’s Sports Foundation Donna Lopiano, and Dr. Bernice Sandler, the “Godmother of Title IX.”
Sporting Chance is part of the ESPN Networks’ celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX. Encore telecasts are scheduled for 1 and 8 p.m. June 23 on ESPNU.
“At Northwestern Mutual, we salute the ideals of Title IX and how it opened the doors for female NCAA student-athletes who are many of today’s business and community leaders,” said Conrad York, the company’s vice president of marketing. Northwestern Mutual is an official NCAA corporate partner. “We believe in giving individuals opportunities to attain success whether that’s creating financial security or reaching one’s full potential in life.”
Additionally, The Coca-Cola Company, also an NCAA corporate champion, will host a premiere viewing of Sporting Chance and a panel discussion on Title IX on June 18 in New York.
“ESPN is thrilled to showcase Sporting Chance as part of our 40th Anniversary of Title IX initiative,” said Carol Stiff, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions. “The film documents the impact a 37-word civil rights law has had on our society for past, present and future generations. It gave all women a sporting chance.”
Emmert thanked Northwestern Mutual, Coca-Cola and ESPN for their involvement in the anniversary project and the documentary. “Their commitment provides an additional platform to celebrate Title IX,” he said.
A DVD of the documentary will be available for purchase on June 23, and educational materials will be available at a later date in collaboration with the National Federation of State High School Associations.