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As Title IX turns 50, The Denver Post in a three-day series examines the legacy of Colorado’s most storied female athletes and how a state with a progressive attitude toward women’s athletics allowed them to succeed in their chosen sport. Yet inequities remain as no major female professional sports team calls the state home.

While sports often are front and center, Title IX has brought so much more to women, paving their way into the country’s most prestigious law schools, engineering programs and other academic fields that were long dominated by men. In recent years it’s become a legal tool women use to call out gender discrimination and sexual harassment and violence on campuses.

In collegiate sports, the world is changing. Fast.

Athletes can be paid for commercials, sell autographs or earn money for being social media stars, and some big-time football programs are talking about breaking away from the NCAA. This series also will look at how Title IX will be tested as athletic directors, coaches and athletes figure out how to comply with the law in a new paradigm.

“Title IX is the 37 words that changed the world,” said Cari S. Simon, managing legal counsel with The Fierberg National Law Group in Boulder. “It gave women equal access to education and all its benefits from sports to an education free of sexual violence to getting into the classroom door. It’s basic equity. Education is this equalizer and this path toward fulfilling one’s potential.”

“The 37 words say nothing about sports,” Simon added. “They just say it’s about equal access to education based on sex.”

Yet sports became an early focus of the new law and how it would be interpreted. Men’s athletic programs — specifically football — immediately began worrying about losing revenue to women’s sports after the bill’s passage.

By the time Title IX became law, however, Colorado already was pushing for official high school girls sports.

— Full story via Noelle Phillips, The Denver Post 

Colorado is producing some of the world’s best female athletes 50 years after embracing Title IX

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See more great photos like this on The Denver Post’s Instagram account.

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