WSU's Karen Blair changed sports forever

Posted Jun 17, 2012

THIS WEEK ON THE pages of we'll be running an article about the intriguing class of basketball recruits June Daugherty is bringing into her program this year. No one is likely to think twice about such an article, because we periodically run updates on women's hoops at WSU and recruiting in that arena is of keen interest to many.

Such is the evolution in college sports over the last 40 years, and especially the last 25, that no one would think it unusual for a news outlet largely devoted to football to run a story on women's hoops.

Title IX, the 1972 federal law requiring gender equity for any educational program or activity that received federal financial support, went into effect 40 years ago this month. But it wasn't until Karen Blair, a WSU track athlete out of Bellingham who filed suit effectively demanding that school's actually follow the mandate, that equality really started to take root across the country.

Blair was joined in that 1979 lawsuit by coach Sue Durrant and nearly 40 teammates. Eight years after filing, in 1987, they won the case. And the face of college athletics was forever changed.

On Sunday, the Seattle Times ran a series of articles about Title IX and the rise of women's sports. Two of those articles focused on Blair. Here they are ...

  • Young runner went distance for fairness: Karen Blair in her own words

  • WSU student played key role in fight for athletic parity

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