Amidst cheers from an audience of more than 11,000 people, Ashley Martin made history on Thursday by scoring a field goal for Jacksonville State University and becoming the first woman to play and score in a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I football game. By the end of the game, Martin had kicked three points for her team, received a standing ovation, and broken another barrier for women in sports. Two other women have been on NCAA teams, Kathy Klope and Katie Hnida, but neither were given playing time.
Nearly three decades have passed since the enactment of Title IX, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education, including athletics. As a result of Title IX, women have benefited from more athletic opportunities and more opportunities for athletic scholarships. However, while Martin’s victory is one for all women in athletics, women athletes still have a long way to go to reach parity with men in sports. Collegiate women’s athletic programs receive only 26% of college sports’ operating budgets and less than 30% of college recruiting money.
For more information on women in sports, visit www.feminist.org/sports/sports.asp