JOPLIN, Mo. — On June 23 1972, Title IX was enacted. Title IX prohibits any federally funded educational institution from discriminating against employees or students based on sex. It also helped pave the way for equality in women’s athletics.
As part of the 48th anniversary of Title IX’s enactment, KSN’s Bailey Harbit spoke with College Heights 2020 graduate, and multi-sport standout Emmy Colin. As well as legendary Missouri Southern coach and educator Dr. Pat Lipira about their experiences with sports, and where they see the future of women’s athletics headed.
Dr. Pat Lipira, former MSSU coach and educator: “What I remember distinctly, my first recollection, I was probably about five. I had an older brother who was three years older. He played Little League and my dad, my dad played fast pitch softball but he was the Little League coach. Well I wanted to play, but I couldn’t.”
Emmy Colin, College Heights graduate: “Both of my parents are coaches, and they both used to be PE coaches, so my entire life I’ve played sports and gone to practices. Like I would ride my scooter around the gym while my mom was coaching volleyball. All that stuff. So I’ve been around sports my entire life.”
Lipira: “Then I went to high school, and we had what they called GAA, which is really intramurals. So we had intramurals and I played everything I could play. If it had not been for summer softball, which I began playing, my doors would have never opened. It was not because of school sports. Anyway, I was able to play summer softball and the coach from Northwest Missouri State saw me one summer and said ‘would you like a scholarship?’ Back then it was like ‘are you serious? You’re gonna pay me to play softball?'”
Colin: “It’s just so cool now that we can play and that we have the opportunity to play so many sports. Like I’ve been playing five sports for the last two years in high school and it’s been so fun. It’s just amazing to know that we have the same opportunity that the boys have to be able to play sports and compete.”
Lipira: “Of course if it hadn’t been for that (Title IX), my whole career would have been different. That opened the door, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, that opened the door to me being a teacher, coach 34 years at Missouri Southern. I’ll say without Title IX, without girls sports, my whole life would look different.”
Colin: “I just hope that girls keep on pursuing their dreams in sports and that they know that they can do the same things guys can do, and that we can come out here and compete at any level we chose to especially if you work hard.”
Lipira: “We’ve come so far, and I just hope that everyone keeps working hard and I just hope everyone keeps the mentality of I’m fortunate. I’m very fortunate that I get this opportunity to play.”