Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Marvin P. Dawkins

Second Committee Member

Donald Spivey

Third Committee Member

Jomills H. Braddock

Fourth Committee Member

John Murphy


There has been considerable progress in women's sport participation opportunities since the enactment of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. These opportunities have allowed women and girls to participate in sports at the primary and secondary school level, as well as at the collegiate level in considerable numbers. Institutions have been adding new, emerging, or growth sports to their sports lineup. Despite this progress, much remains to be done to achieve true equity in women's access to sports. Indeed, recent evidence suggests that women of color may not have benefited from the array of new sports and athletic opportunities as much as white women. To examine this issue, we compare Post-Title IX trends in black and white females' sports participation and directly examine the effect of race on participation opportunities. Quantitative analysis based on multiple national data sets, including the National Longitudinal Study (NLS), the High School and Beyond Survey (HSB), the National Educational Longitudinal Survey (NELS), and the Educational Longitudinal Survey (ELS), reveal that compared to white females, black females have indeed lost ground since Title IX, and that public schools attended by black females offer fewer sport participation opportunities to girls. Qualitative analysis is presented through a detailed, critical examination of the history of white and black women and sports, followed by an assessment of the legal challenges to gender inequality involving Title IX. Although Title IX is supposed to provide greater sports participation and athletic opportunities for women, oftentimes, women of color are disproportionately excluded from participation. As a policy, Title IX is designed to promote gender equity and equality in education, including sports. However, interscholastic athletic access and participation opportunities for females are unevenly distributed along racial lines. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.


Race; Critical Race Theory; Race And Sports; African American Women; African American Girls; Affirmative Action; Sports Participation