When searching the archives for information on women in sports at Suffield Academy, I came across a 1974 issue of The Bell. Dennis Kinne, the athletic director at the time, reached out to the female students, offering them opportunities to participate in male teams such as track & field and cross country. This is very interesting, especially when comparing this historical moment to Suffield Academy’s athletics today. With women very integrated in our culture today, both athletically and academically. I am interested in finding out more about how women integrated into the athletic aspects of life at Suffield Academy. There must have been certain issues and challenges that Suffield Academy had to overcome involving athletic integration that would be very cool to discover and bring to light. Researching this topic will also bring to light the issues of gender equality present during the 1970’s, and I am very interested in comparing that to Suffield today. Another aspect of Suffield Academy’s history that I am interested in learning about is title IX and how it affected the athletics teams. Did Suffield lose any teams or gain any teams after title IX was enacted? This is an aspect I am hoping to learn about along with co-educational teams becoming competitive on campus.
At Suffield Academy, along with the majority of the United States, woman were not allowed to play in any major sports such as baseball, basketball or tennis due to the fact that they were considered “male sports”. In the early 1970’s, woman were again granted into Suffield Academy making it no longer an all-boys school. Soon later, woman were allowed to play in the same sports that men were, regardless of what the sport may be. In 1972, a civil rights act (Title IX or Title 9) allowed women to have equal opportunity in education along with playing the same sports as men do. An activist movement also resulted in colleges supplying equal funding for women’s sports as done for men’s. As an example of women excelling in sports due to this change; Billie Jean King was a female tennis player who received $10,000 for her victory in the U.S Open Final versus the male winner who won $25,000. The year after this, she faced a male player named Bobby Riggs for a prize of $100,000 and was victorious; this competition was not official but was simply for “bragging rights”. This was a huge step for women in sports as it portrayed the image that women can do what men do. Overall, Suffield Academy allowing women to partake in major sports so early on is quite remarkable as it took a long time for the entire country to follow along with this movement.
Driving Question: I would like to know, when were the women’s sports teams able to play against other schools in major sports? In other words, when did other schools change in the way Suffield did?
Required Skills: Analytical skills along with some statistical skills.