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It implies that someone or something has endless opportunity. It implies that greatness and excellence in multiple areas are not only expectations, but also within reach. Most importantly, it implies equality as a key aspect of achievement. For women’s intercollegiate athletics at Cal, “having it all” was not necessarily the path from the beginning, but through issues raised and many victories along the way, women’s intercollegiate athletics have risen to the growing stronghold it is today. Since Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was enacted, a door has been opened for women to have equal opportunities to play sports at Cal. Important aspects of equality in athletics such as facilities, budget, and athlete recognition will be explored to illuminate the evolution of Cal women’s intercollegiate athletics since Title IX. Although the process was long and often times strenuous, the path to equality has made tremendous improvements over the years and continues to grow at the university even today. Facilities for women’s intercollegiate athletics at Cal have undergone many changes and steady improvements over the years, but originated from humble beginnings on the road to equity with men’s athletics. It is important to note that the men’s and women’s athletic departments were completely separate when the women’s department was established in 1976-77 with 12 sports, which included separate facilities. The facilities offered to the women’s department in the early
years were located in Hearst Gymnasium, where the offices of the women’s athletic director, secretary, coaches, and training room were held in overcrowded, noisy quarters. In the fall 1981 issue of Bear Tracks, a newsletter sent to alumni and boosters for women’s athletics, an article on the front page announced the opening of the new and improved headquarters for the women’s athletic department. The article includes a comparison of the former offices that housed 40 faculty in 4 rooms and 600 square feet, to the new offices that increased the space to 22 rooms and more than 2,000 square feet. The new space also boasted an individual office for almost every head coach and administrator, more spacious training room quarters, and a conference room. The article emphasized the improvements with photographs that showed before and after the renovations took place, revealing the tiny, overcrowded space that the department formerly occupied. The history of the department was also included to show that progress was being made, “Under the direction of Luella Lilly….Cal has gradually emerged as one of the strongest, most well balanced programs in the United States. In the 1981 yearly ranking for overall excellence (based on performance at national championships), California was ranked 8th” (Bear Tracks Fall 1981: 2). This article not only shows the difference between what the women’s athletic department started with, which was not much, but it also indicates that growth was steadily taking place since the establishment of the department in 1976. Although the facilities were still not necessarily equal to the men’s department, strides were being made towards improvement. It is clear through examination of oral histories that although improvements were being made to the women’s facilities, the men’s facilities located in Harmon
Gymnasium (what is now Haas Pavilion) remained superior. According to Head Track and Field Coach Tony Sandoval, who has been coaching at Cal since the fall of 1982, the facilities available to women when he first arrived at Cal were minimal and inferior compared to those of the men and to today’s standards, “I had one room for myself and my assistant. We had one trainer, no weight room, and one doctor came in once a week to treat people” (interview with author, November 20, 2012). Sandoval also recalled battles over priority to use the facilities between the men’s track coaching staff and the women’s staff who despised each other. The battles forced the women’s team to practice at different times than the men, again demonstrating the separation between the departments. Marilyn Davis, a Cal track and field athlete from the class of ’86, also recalled moments of feeling like a “2nd class citizen” when remembering the facilities that were available to her as an athlete. During the summer of her junior year, Davis wanted to use a weight room facility to train. Because the women’s department didn’t have an adequate weight room, Sandoval had to negotiate with the men’s athletic department to gain access to their weight room. “It wasn’t open to women, but somehow Tony got special access for me to train in the football facility. The football team had an amazing facility,” recalled Davis (interview with author, November 21, 2012). It would be several years later until the facilities for women’s athletics would be comparable to the men’s facilities. It wasn’t until 1992 when Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien would set a precedent for overall athletic excellence and call for both the men’s and women’s athletic departments to combine into one united department with shared facilities. The
women’s athletic offices were moved from Hearst to Harmon Gymnasium to join the men’s athletic department offices. During the fall of 1999, Harmon Gym underwent a massive renovation and expansion to become what is now Walter A. Haas Jr. Pavilion. With the help of numerous large donations from alumni, Haas Pavilion was built to contain twice the capacity of its predecessor, boasting a structure that is 37 feet taller and 28 feet wider than Harmon along with new expanded locker rooms, a weight room, and athletic training facilities that are available to the numerous men’s and women’s sports that call Haas home. Today Haas Pavilion is the epicenter of shared facilities for many of the men’s and women’s sports at Cal, which is evident by observing the posters and flags occupying the Pavilion. Pictures of the numerous NCAA champions, male and female, that have won a national title in their respective sports are proudly displayed for visitors to see, and evoke the sense of unity that now exists within the athletic department today. The issue of budget distribution has always been a controversial topic within the athletic department and although great facility improvements have been made over the years, the road to change began with a battle over fiscal figures. Before the combination of the men’s and women’s athletic department, the issue of budget distribution and fairness was something that affected the entire student body and continues to raise questions to this day. Even before the women’s intercollegiate athletic department was established in 1976, female students and faculty were raising the issue of same sex equality in athletics. In the Daily Californian from May 15, 1974, two years before the women’s intercollegiate athletic department was established at Cal, two students from UC Berkeley and a professor from Cal State
Hayward wrote a scathing report titled “Sex Discrimination in Physical Education and Athletic Programs in California Higher Education,” which they presented at a press conference in San Francisco. In 75 pages, the authors accused state colleges and universities of systematic sexism and charged that physical education facilities for women were far inferior to men, gross budget imbalances between the men’s and women’s athletic departments existed, and that female physical education professors were being paid less than men. The study also compared the men’s intercollegiate and administrative budget to the “character of a large enterprise” with publicity, information services, large facilities, student financial aid, and tutoring for its athletes. The study suggested that, “major athletics expenditures be directed toward facilities and programs serving a wide proportion of the campus population rather than toward a few athletes preparing for competition” (Krauter 1974:13). It is evident that even before the establishment of the women’s intercollegiate department took place, the issue of equality and fairness of budget distribution was prompting major changes within the athletic department. Although major changes were not made overnight, there seemed to be a positive outlook on steady growth within the women’s intercollegiate athletic department. This positive outlook can be seen in interviews with athletes who were affected by the budget distribution as members of a young women’s athletic department. In the June 6, 1974 issue of the Daily Californian, Cal swimmer Karen Sisk was interviewed on her thoughts regarding the state of the budget for women’s athletics, seeing improvement on the horizon. The article stated that the major issue was the men’s athletic department budget being too big, which left an unequal
share for the women’s athletic department, intramurals, and club sports. Sisk assessed the situation unsure of the fiscal figures but optimistic for the future, “I’m not really quite sure what it is….we got the tops to our sweat suits last year, so this year they’re (the women’s department) going to get us the bottoms” (Glazier 1974: 9,17). Even though receiving only one half of a sweat suit seems absurd by today’s standards, the thought of receiving any addition in the future was considered a positive. The article continued, stating that the women’s athletic department would receive a 150% increase in budget from the year before, which would go towards uniforms, equipment, and subsidize travel and medical costs, “for the first time in the university’s history, women can rest peacefully knowing the department is flipping the bill” (Glazier 1974: 17). Although the article reflected a sense of optimism for financial improvements in the future, major changes wouldn’t be seen for the women’s athletic department until several years later. A less optimistic outlook on the budget is recalled by Cal athletes and coaches several years after the 1974 Daily Cal article promised improvements for the future of women’s athletics. Tony Sandoval recalled during his first few years of coaching in 1982, the minimal budget allotted to the women’s track and field program at Cal. In contrast with the men’s separate and larger budget, he remembered the women having a “shoestring budget,” forcing the team to find alternative ways to raise money to compensate for lack of expenses. “We had car washes, bake sales, raffles, and some parents gave money just out of the goodness of their hearts,” recalled Sandoval (interview with author, November 20, 2012). Marilyn Davis also recalled a humbling moment during her experience on the cross-country team when they
qualified for the national championships. The meet was at Penn State in November, where the weather would be unbearably cold with snow on the ground. Davis recalled her team being forced to borrow the large fleece jackets from the men’s water polo team just to stay warm during their competition. They were not provided with adequate equipment by the women’s athletic department for the most important meet of the year. Davis and her teammates were also forced to provide their own equipment essentials during the season such as training shoes and workout clothing, as the women’s athletic department didn’t have enough money in the budget to provide for them (interview with author, November 21, 2012). Davis and Sandoval’s experiences during the early years of the department are stark contrasts to the current expectations and budget for women’s athletics. For example, today both the men’s and women’s track teams are provided with practice shirts and pants, rain gear, luggage for traveling to meets, jackets, fleece sweat shirts, beanies, backpacks, track spikes, and training shoes based on merit. Not only are the women’s teams provided with an exceptional amount of gear in comparison to the early years, but it has also become an expectation to receive the same amount of gear as the men’s team since the unification of the departments, a massive leap forward on the road to equity. With budget increases and facility improvements comes equality in competition, and in turn demands athlete recognition for excellence and accomplishment in the sport. In the beginning of the road to equity, the women’s intercollegiate athletic department began establishing a Hall of Fame for female athletes who displayed excellence in their sport and outstanding representation of
the university. In an article from the winter 1978 issue of the Bear Tracks newsletter, the author described the Hall of Fame week that took place to initiate the new campus honor, which included varsity competition in multiple sports, lectures by coaches, demonstrations by intercollegiate teams, and sports movies. The article also evoked the sense that it was an accomplishment to get the men’s department involved and interested, “Getting the men involved in the festivities was no problem. Olympian decathlon champion Bruce Jenner and former Cal AllAmerican quarterback Steve Bartkowski teamed with Cal players Kim Greenhouse and Beth Fernbacker for a tennis exhibition on Channing Courts” (Bear Tracks Winter 1978: 2). It appears that with the honor of the Cal Women’s Hall of Fame, a deeper sense of recognition followed from the men’s athletic department who participated and acknowledged the stepping-stone for women’s intercollegiate athletics. A few years later, in an official program for the October 15, 1981 Cal Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the pamphlet described the history of the institution as well as its purpose, “The Cal Women Athletes Hall of Fame originated in 1977 as a way to honor outstanding women athletes from the Berkeley campus of the University of California,” it continued, “Believed to be the first of its kind exclusively for women, the Hall of Fame is designed to generate interest in the Cal program and encourage young women to aspire to the highest level of athletic performance” (Cal Women Athlete Hall of Fame 1981:2). The program evokes the fact that the women’s intercollegiate athletic department was on a mission to establish not only an interest in female athletics at Cal, but also a standard for an
elite level of athletic competition and accomplishment. The Hall of Fame helped found a sense of earned recognition and honor that was deserved of its participants as members of an equally competitive intercollegiate program. Today, the Cal athletic department has inducted many more women into the Hall of Fame whose accomplishments can be seen on plaques throughout campus. It is imperative to research written pieces of historical importance to the Cal women’s intercollegiate department, but in order to gain a truly genuine perspective on the growth of the institution, you must speak with those who lived it. By acknowledging the experiences of the individuals who shaped the athletic department, a real perspective is gained on the implications for achieving equity. Patricia Etem, a Cal rower from the class of ’79 and a Hall of Fame inductee, gave advice based on her experience being on the first Cal women’s crew team and the benefits that followed, “Jump in, just do it, it’s a must, you’ll never be the same, you will find such an intimate community in a huge campus, you will be asked to give yourself mightily and learn to weave that into the experiences of teammates to make a whole team thrive.” Carolyn Davis, another Cal rower from the same graduating class follows Etem’s thought by commenting on the excitement of being a member of the team, “I liked that we were forging a different path from the norm” (interview with author, November 23, 2012). Because the institution of women’s intercollegiate athletics was so new and revolutionary at the time, these female athletes were instrumental in forging a path for future generations of women to enjoy the experience of having equal opportunity in Cal athletics. As Tony Sandoval
proudly says, “It was a badge of courage to be a female athlete back then” (interview with author, November 20, 2012). It is evident from piecing together the history of women’s athletics at Cal that “having it all” does not necessarily come quickly or easily. It is a long process that can be frustrating and tiresome, but it is important to note that with struggle comes achievement. The issues raised and victories along the way such as calling for better facilities, a fair distribution of budget, and a demand for athlete recognition have all helped shape the growing strength of women’s athletics today. With the help of brave instrumental figures, what was once a dream to “have it all” has now become a reality for generations of women at Cal.
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