•This is “Title Nine” for the UConn women, as an emailer observed — their ninth NCAA title and an opportunity to reflect on Title IX, the federal law that banned discrimination in high school and college sports four decades ago. The law opened the door for millions of young women who wanted to play sports but were denied the opportunity.
The numbers tell that story. In 1972, fewer than 300,000 young women played high school sports. When Title IX celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012, the number had reached 3.2 million.
At the college level, the number of female athletes went from fewer than 32,000 to more than 193,000, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
The field is not yet level — women still do not get an equal share of playing opportunities, athletic investment or scholarship dollars — but things have greatly improved.
That’s obvious at UConn, which didn’t even have a women’s basketball team the year Title IX was passed. Now the brilliant Huskies are winning national championships on ESPN. It’s one of the rare occasions when Congress got one right. Title IX begat Title Nine.
•The NCAA National Championship trophies for both men and women are stylistically undistinguished, bland as a salesman-of-the-month award, and don’t reflect the grandeur of the accomplishment.
With all of the artistic talent at NCAA member institutions, this is the best they can do?
Then again, most sports trophies aren’t much to look at. It makes one appreciate the few that are, such as the Claret Jug at the British Open.
•Has the practice of politicians making “friendly wagers” gotten both out of control and a little old?
This was moderately amusing a few years ago, when the governors of states whose teams were in the finals began betting local products (maple syrup, whiskey and so on) on the outcome. But now lieutenant governors, congressmen and senators are also in on the act. It’s become like a thrice-told joke: no longer that amusing.
On the other hand, since UConn is a combined 13-0 in NCAA men’s and women’s championship games, it’s too bad they didn’t bet real money. That might have closed the deficit.