CAPTION: Picture 1, Candace Lyle Hogan speaks at rally to protest proposed changes in law governing intercollegiate sports. By James A. Parcell-The Washington Post; Picture 2, College athletes cheer speaker at Lafayette Park rally yesterday before moving their lobbying campaign up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. By James A. Parcell-The Washington Post
More than 200 gym-attired college women athletes held a spirited rally in Lafayette Park yesterday, then marched to the Capitol to protest proposed changes in a federal law that bans sex discrimination in intercollegiate sports programs.
Carrying the hockeys sticks, volleyballs and baseball and tennis gear they use on their college teams, the women vowed in chants to "hold the line" on efforts to revise proposed guidelines for the Title 9 section of the 1972 Education Amendments Act. The legislation requires sexual equality in educational institutions that receive federal funds.
"In 1964, I was one of the top skiers in the country, but I couldn't even get an athletic scholarship," said 1968 Olympic ski champion Suzy Chaffee, better known today as "Suzy Chapstick" in television commercials.
Chaffee joined groups organized by the Associated for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) in urging that women keep pressuring for an equal share of the sports recruiting and program budgets at colleges and universities around the country.
The group's cheers and chants had the raucous volume of a tournament playoff game. The rally and brisk march up Pennyslvania Avenue-led by cartwheeling gymnasts-attracted Sunday strollers and tourists.
AIAW President Carole Mushier estimated that as many as 125,000 women are involved in athletic programs in their schools, and she said the participation of women in college sports has doubled since Title 9 provisions went into effect six years ago.
Today, according to AIAW figures, women account for about 30 percent of all college athletes.
The Title 9 dispute was touched off last December when the Department of Health, Education and Welfare proposed new guideliness to make equal per capita expenditures for men and women college athletes a primary requirement for compliance with the 1972 law.
About 300 colleges and universities subsequently joined forces with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the AIAW's male counterpart, to lobby Congress to exempt revenue-producing sports from HEW's proposed guidelines.
The women, in turn, are now organizing a lobbying campaign of their own to keep the new guidelines intact.
I can't understand why they feel so threatened by us." said Joann Lindblade, a junior at the University of Maryland who plays on the lacrosse and volleyball teams there.
Arguing that intercollegiate athletic programs for men "have got so much money already," Lindblade said the Title 9 statute is the only law to provide equal opportunity for women in sports.
"It wasn't equal in the past, and with the law, it barely is," she said.
Women organizers of the rally, which also included a pitch for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, stressed yesterday that Title 9 has never been "a dollar for dollar mandate" to spend the same amount of money on women's sports as on moneymaking football and basketball programs for men.
"What is suggested is that there be equal opportunity and comparability and that per capita expenditure in certain areas would be a good guideline to follow," said Jane Haliger, a spokeswoman for AIAW.
"Our school just got women's sports going in the last four years, and I'm affraid any changes will affect the team." said Alicia Hamerla, a hockey and volleyball player with Mansfield State College near Philadephia.
One of many women who attended the rally* from Connecticut, Boston and Philadelphia areas, Hamerla will be joining other women athletes this week in meeting with legislators on behalf of the Title 9 regulations.
"I've been interested in athletics ever since I was little," she said. "Most of the time we just practice but don't get to play because we don't have the money to travel to other schools."