Cori Close and Tara VanDerveer have a transparent view of Riverside City College regardless of not having set foot on campus. The extremely embellished Division I girls’s basketball coaches are keenly conscious of Riverside coach Alicia Berber’s authorized and administrative combat in opposition to gender inequity.
They’ve been career-long warriors on the entrance traces of the combat to implement Title IX, the 50-year-old federal regulation that prohibits discrimination based mostly on intercourse in education schemes and actions — together with athletics.
Close, 51, in her twelfth season as coach of No. 8-ranked UCLA, is president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Assn. and is lively in lobbying Congress to extend funding for and enforcement of Title IX.
VanDerveer, 69, has coached No. 2-ranked Stanford to a few NCAA titles in 36 years and in 44 years at Division I has extra victories than another girls’s coach in historical past. When she attended highschool pre-Title IX, school-sponsored ladies’ basketball groups didn’t exist.
Both coaches mentioned they now not expertise the bullying and inequities that Berber alleges in her lawsuit. As elite Pac-12 Conference universities, UCLA and Stanford take pleasure in sources, amenities and administrative help far past the attain of junior faculties.
Still, these limitations shouldn’t excuse the bullying and intimidation Berber says she has skilled.
“The tone is set by the administration,” VanDerveer mentioned. “Does the school value gender equity? Its actions provide the answer.”
Close is appreciative of UCLA’s dedication to adhering to Title IX. Yet as a nationwide voice for girls’s sports activities, she acknowledges that the majority girls in sports activities aren’t handled as nicely.
“I try to live in this healthy tension of being really thankful for how far we’ve come while remaining a relentless fighter to move the needle,” Close mentioned. “I don’t care at what level, we still have some old-school mindsets about the difference between men and women, and opportunities.”
That Berber has the likes of Cheryl Miller and Ann Meyers Drysdale as vocal supporters pleases Close.
“I’m wildly grateful myself because we are walking on a trail that others blazed,” Close mentioned. “The great news is that women’s sports is not a charity case anymore. TV ratings are up, ticket sales are up, more and more corporations want to invest in women in sport.”
Maybe that message hasn’t trickled all the way down to some junior faculties, the place sources are scarce and attendance spotty.
“That’s where I love that we have each others’ backs,” Close mentioned. “It’s really hard, if I’m being candid, when you sort of have to fall on the sword. I look at people that have really fought for it, and even if they’ve won, they lost their jobs and no one wants to hire them again.
“So, it’s a vicious cycle. I don’t want to be known as a complaining feminist. I want to be known as a grateful fighter to move women’s issues forward, but in a balanced fashion. There’s a mistaken impression that when we fight to increase opportunities we are trying to change the slices of the pie. No, we are trying to expand the pie.”
For VanDerveer, studying of Berber’s plight — and combat — had her considering again to the arrival of Title IX in 1972. She shook her head and sighed with the conclusion that allegations comparable to Berber’s proceed.
“Title IX should be enforced, it’s a law, it’s very disappointing when it isn’t,” VanDerveer mentioned. “You’d hope school administrators would say, ‘We value women’s sports.’ Don’t these men have daughters, wives, mothers, grandmothers? Their actions send a message that they don’t value women and don’t respect women.”