Christian Cieri, Illustrator

A little over 40 years ago, Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972 was signed.

But, what is Title IX? It’s a question that a lot of students may have, particularly those who participate in athletics. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Title IX is a “federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.” UR Athletics is one of these programs.

The amendment opened new doors for female athletes at UR, giving them a chance to participate in Division III sports. When it was first signed, the women’s athletic department grew: full-time coaches were hired, teams were developed almost immediately and daily practice schedules were created.  At first, it was women’s basketball and field hockey. Lacrosse and women’s rowing were later added to the list.

At UR, there are currently 10 Division III sports for men, with squash as the only Division I team. On the women’s side, there are 11 sports, all of which fall under the Division III category. Clubs and intramurals create even more balance in gender equality when it comes to sports.

But, just because a team is characterized as a club doesn’t mean they aren’t competitive. The UR Men’s Rowing team actually travels with the women’s varsity team to different regattas, such as last week’s Challenge on the Canal in Geneva, New York. The UR club tennis team is just as competitive, playing against teams from University of Buffalo, Syracuse University and SUNY Fredonia, along with many others. One key aspect that separates club sports from varsity is that instead of practicing six days per week, they normally train three or four.

There is no less value to being in a club sport here at UR. The whole purpose of Title IX is to create a more equal field for athletic teams on campus, which is why some sports will only have a men’s team—like football—and some will only have a female team—like rowing and field hockey. With the competitive club teams that compete alongside varsity squads, it’s easy to get confused between what’s considered Division III and what isn’t.

Luckily for UR, support is still given to both sets of teams.

Miller is a member of  the class of 2019. 

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