Some interesting highlights from Sports and Entertainment Law.
In 1931, Virne Beatrice “Jackie” Mitchell, a 17-year-old woman pitching for the Chattanooga Lookouts, struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game. Baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis responded by banning women from professional baseball on the grounds that it was “too strenuous” for them to participate.
Title IX [gender equity legislation] was slipped into a civil-rights law because conservative Southerners thought the idea of granting equal opportunities for women would derail the bill. It was signed into law by President Nixon. The legislation did not specifically mention athletics, but it did require the promulgation of regulations to achieve gender equity in educational opportunities.
The NCAA continues to oppose the addition of new sports such as women’s football, wrestling, rugby, and dance and cheer, despite the growing interest in those sports on the part of women. Instead, they encourage competition in synchronized swimming, tennis, and other sports that appeal to women of higher socioeconomic status. The NCAA’s reasons for such efforts are not clear.