Before the advent of Title IX, Immaculata University was a national powerhouse in women’s college basketball, write Alan Blinder, Jeré Longman, and Gillian R. Brassil for The New York Times.
At that time, players would find creative ways to finance their costs, such as selling pencils and toothbrushes to pay for travel costs. Their supporters at every game were pail-pounding nuns.
“It was crazy: nuns in full habit banging on metal buckets and yelling for this team,” said Cathy Rush, who coached Immaculata in the early 1970s when the team won three consecutive national championships. “We thought we were blessed.”
However, the much-needed federal law that prohibited gender discrimination in education had an unintentional adverse effect on Immaculata. As a small school that could not fund scholarships, it could no longer compete at the top.
Still — and despite the latest controversy that once again highlighted the unequal treatment of men’s and women’s teams — Rush believes the NCAA had “worked well” since Title IX and has even proved “transformational” for women’s sports.
Read more about Immaculata’s historic role in women’s college basketball in The New York Times.