Virginia Tech hosts discussion on Title IX and how far women’s athletics has come

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 11:35 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s been more than 50 years since Title IX began and Virginia Tech’s School of Communication hosted a roundtable discussion that featured the athletes who’ve paved the way and the current athletes who are continuing the mission of shining a spotlight on women’s athletics.

The first portion included Lynne Jones Krulich and Anne Jones Thompson, who received the first two scholarships for a varsity women’s team at Tech. Jones was also the first full-time women’s tennis coach and a member of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. Rounding it out was Lisa Karlisch, a volleyball player, the second woman to have her jersey retired, an All-American and a member of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.

“No one knew who you were, no one came to see you and it’s really only been much later in life that my friends now care that I was a Virginia Tech athlete,” said Karlisch.

Women’s sports at Virginia Tech have come a long way but are still far from getting the recognition they deserve, according to Tech athletes.

“I retired in 2000 from coaching, that was 23 years ago and I think it’s just now, in the last five, 10 years that you’ve started to hear more about the women’s athletic department or sports at Tech,” said Thompson.

The second portion included Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball Head Coach Kenny Brooks, stars Georgia Amoore and Liz Kitley, Virginia Tech Women’s Hockey Co-Founder Lily Espino and Reyna Gilbert-Lowry, the senior associate athletics director for inclusive excellence and alumni engagement.

Many questions were asked, including some of the stereotypes they have experienced in their time in sports.

“I’ve never personally experienced any stereotyping, but I would say that we’re compared to the men’s team a lot, but I think we have a completely different brand of basketball in itself. It’s a completely different show; it’s a completely different production if you put it in terms of that,” said Amoore.

“We’ve seen a lot of stuff that maybe suggests that our game isn’t as entertaining as the men, but a lot of that boils down to the dunking; that’s what we see all the time,” said Kitley.

“I get a little disappointed, frustrated when I hear people discredit the game. It’s a boring game? Clearly you haven’t watched. If you say it’s boring, then clearly you’re not a basketball person,” said Brooks.

The speakers are proud of how far women’s sports at Tech have come and want to be a part of it continuing.

“Just being really good role models for those young women, you know, they’re gonna grow up in a time that’s completely different to what we’re experiencing as we are right now. So just hopefully being, you know, good role models, but trailblazers for what they are going to be fortunate enough, hopefully, to experience. And I cannot wait to see how it evolves,” said Amoore.

“To just shine a light on women’s sports as a whole and to discuss Title IX is incredible. I think more people need to do it, it’s an important thing to talk about. And that will just be a part of the investment that is our future,” said Kitley.