Celebrating 50 Years Of Title IX With Utah Athletics

Jun 23, 2022, 2:27 PM
TOKYO, JAPAN - Mykayla Skinner of Team United States poses with the silver medal on the podium duri...
TOKYO, JAPAN - Mykayla Skinner of Team United States poses with the silver medal on the podium during the Women's Vault Final medal ceremony on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 01, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- It has been 50 years since Title IX was passed making it easier female student-athletes to play their sports while also seeking an education like their male peers. Today, in honor of the many, many trailblazers, KSL Sports looks back on some of the most influential female student-athletes in Utah Athletics history. We know it hasn’t always been easy, but thank you for your dedication to sport and school in an effort to make the process smoother for the next generation of female student-athletes.

Before Title IX

Title IX was a federal law passed June 23, 1972 declaring no person based on sex shall be discriminated against under any educational program or activity receiving federal funds. Before Title IX, women sports programs were considered “club” activities and did not receive the financial help their male counterparts received.

An interesting look into the world before Title IX comes courtesy of Karen Taylor Madson. Madson was a two-way athlete at the University of Utah playing volleyball and basketball starting in 1971- a year before Title IX passed. The most interesting aspect of Madson’s story outside of what it was like playing sports as a female athlete before Title IX is the scholarship she was awarded. With the help of the Utah Athletic Department, it appears Madson’s scholarship most likely came from the university itself and not actually the athletic department, but it did allow Madson a freedom few if any of her other teammates had at that time- paid school so she could more easily focus on her athletic abilities too.

Utah’s First Female Scholarship Athlete

According to Utah Athletics it appears the first true athletic scholarship awarded to a female student-athlete came in 1974. Jane Stratton was a local product who played tennis for the Utes from 1974-1976. During Stratton’s career she earned All-America status three times and was a finalist for the Women’s Collegiate Championships twice. Stratton ranked third in the country in singles and number one in the country under doubles competition. A current member of the Crimson Club Hall of Fame, Stratton made two quarterfinal appearances at Wimbledon in doubles after her career with the Utes was done.

The Slow Build-Up

It took a while for Utah to ramp up their Intercollegiate women’s sports programs. As mentioned above, women’s sports existed, but they were more like club sports with no scholarship offerings, even for a few years after Title IX passed.

Tennis appears to be the first women’s sport with the Utes to have all of the scholarships and financial backing starting in the fall of 1974. Basketball followed from 1974-1975 along with volleyball later in 1975. Gymnastics, skiing, and softball were all introduced the following year in 1976.

Five years later, in 1981, Utah started their cross country and track and field program with swimming and diving following in 1982. Soccer was rolled out 13 years later in 1995 with the last female sport added to Utah Athletics’ roster in 2017 with beach volleyball.

Once A Ute, Always A Ute

Utah has had a few notable female student-athletes that never really left for one reason or another.

Megan (McCunniff) Marsden was a freshman for the Red Rocks in 1982, but ended up spending 39 years of her life on campus between her collegiate career and coaching career. Marsden recently pulled the plug on what was nothing short of a legendary career at Utah in 2019, but the efforts of her and her husband, Greg, are still felt to this day not only for the Utes, but all of collegiate gymnastics.

Charmelle Green was a force for the Utes in softball during the early ’90’s earning All-American status in 1990 and 1991. These days however, you can find her back on campus in an administrative roll. As the Deputy Athletics Director for Internal Operations and Chief Operating Officer, Green is now using her experiences as a student-athlete and coach to help the next wave of bright, talented student-athletes get ahead at the University of Utah.

Amy (Timmel) Hogue is another softball star who just can’t quit the Utes. As a player from 1991-1994 Hogue earned a second team All-American nod as well as WAC Softball Player of the Year. In the present, Hogue is Utah softball’s head coach, heading into her 15th season at the helm. Since she was hired in 2008 the Utes have made three straight NCAA appearances in 2015, 2016, and 2017 while carrying a 371-350-1 record.

Mikki Kane-Barton was a terror on the basketball and volleyball courts in the early ’90’s. In fact, many say she is one of the best athletes to ever come through the University of Utah male or female. In 1993 Kane-Barton was named the WAC Player of the Year in basketball and was first-team All-WAC in volleyball. These days she can still be seen on campus cheering her kids on who have all committed and played for the Utes as well. Jackson (football), Cody (football) and Dani (volleyball) have all graduated, but Lander (football) is next in line.

Rapid Fire Names To Know

There are many, many, many incredible female student-athletes to have come through the University of Utah that it’s hard to narrow down the list without feeling like someone got left out. Fighting for equal coverage, opportunity, and acknowledgement still is a battle for female student-athletes and everyone’s efforts no matter how big or small matter when it comes to pushing forward. With that said, here are some additional names that should be known by die-hard Utah Utes fans for their efforts in advancing female student-athlete programs at the University of Utah.

  • Missy Marlowe (Gymnastics)
  • Kristina Baskett (Gymnastics)
  • MyKayla Skinner (Gymnastics)
  • Staci Burt (Soccer)
  • Amy Kofoed (Soccer)
  • Dani Barton Drews (Volleyball)




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Celebrating 50 Years Of Title IX With Utah Athletics