Women's Athletics (University of Michigan) records, 1972-1990
Using These Materials
- The collection is open to research except for the folder "Athletic Scholarship Information" in box 8.
- University of Michigan. Women's Athletics.
- Administrative unit of the University of Michigan Athletic Department responsible for management of women's varsity sports. Records, including topical files, committee minutes, administrative files, and materials on Title IX, document the period when Womens Athletics operated as a semi-autonomous unit under a Director of Women's Athletics.
- 9 linear feet
- Call Number:
- 91438 Bimu F84 2
- Finding aid prepared by Karen Jania, 1990 Greg Kinney, 1994
- Scope and Content:
The Women's Athletics records document the evolution of varsity sports for women at the University of Michigan, and the struggles women engaged in for equity in funding, coaching, facilities, and scholarships. The bulk of the collection represents the administrative files from Phyllis Ocker's tenure as Associate Director for Women's Intercollegiate Athletics. The records document the internal development and management of the women's athletics program, governance of women's athletics through the various intercollegiate conferences and associations with which the program was affiliated, the implementation of Title IX and subsequent internal and external complaints and investigations, and the management and operation of individual sports teams. (Additional material, including media guides, game programs, and photographs for individual sports teams, and microfilmed news clipping scrapbooks can be found in the Bentley Library in the records of the University of Michigan, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Sports Information Office.)
- Biographical / Historical:
Prior to 1969, women's sports at the University of Michigan were organized under the Women's Athletic Association (WAA), a student-run organization which was affiliated with the Athletic Conference of American College Women. (For historical background on the WAA, see The University of Michigan An Encyclopedic Survey, Volume IV, available at the Bentley Historical Library.) With the merger of the men's and women's physical education departments in 1970, the WAA was disbanded and individual sports for women were managed and financially supported by student clubs.
The turning point in the development of women's intercollegiate sports at the university came in 1972, when the United States Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendment Act. Title IX banned sexual discrimination in education programs which received federal funding. In the realm of athletics, it required universities which received federal funding to provide equal athletic opportunities for men and women.
In the early 1970s, women athletes at Michigan had complained that the university distributed scholarships unfairly, provided women with less coaching time than men, allocated less travel money to women, and denied equal opportunities for the recruitment of women athletes. Forced to respond to both Title IX and the complaints, President Robben Fleming established the Committee to Study Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (commonly referred to as the "Burns Committee") in 1973 to investigate the development of women's intercollegiate (varsity) sports. Upon the recommendations of the Burns Committee's preliminary report in August 1973 and final report in November 1973, the university established six varsity sports for women in the 1973/74 school year: tennis, basketball, swimming and diving, synchronized swimming, volleyball, and field hockey.
The new women's athletic program was placed under the administrative control of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics. It was headed by an Associate Director of Women's Intercollegiate Athletics reporting to the Athletic Director. Marie Hartwig was named the first women's athletic director. An Advisory Committee on Women's Intercollegiate Athletics was appointed to assist her in developing and operating the women's varsity program. This committee was also to serve as a search committee for the next associate director. Hartwig retired in 1976 and was succeeded as associate director by Virginia Hunt, who held the position for less than one year. In 1977 Phyllis Ocker was named associate director of women's athletics. Ocker had been a staff member of the university since 1961, serving as assistant professor in the School of Education, and as field hockey coach (1974-1978). Ocker was succeeded by Peggy Bradley-Doppes in 1991.
From 1974 to 1981, women's sports at Michigan operated according to the rules of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, a national organization that tried to provide women's athletics with an alternative to the NCAA. Michigan's women's teams competed in two intercollegiate associations: the Midwest Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (MAIAW) and the State of Michigan Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (SMAIAW).
In 1981 women's varsity sports at the university came under the aegis of the NCAA, and began competing in the Big Ten conference. This was a controversial move as many women believed it decreased the amount of input women had in the administration and development of their varsity sports and represented a very different philosophy of women's sports than that of the AIAW.
The university's compliance with Title IX was slow, leading to the filing of additional complaints and to investigations by the Department of Health Education and Welfare in the late 1970s. These, in turn, led to an expansion of the women's program and an increase in financial support for women athletes, although it was not until 1989 that the university fully complied with Title IX in the area of scholarships.
Phyllis Ocker retired in December 1990. She led the struggle for women's athletics at the university during difficult and trying years. By the time she stepped down, the number of varsity sports for women had grown to eleven, (gymnastics, softball, cross country, soccer, track, and golf were added, synchronized swimming was dropped) and total spending for women's athletics had increased from $100,000 to $2.4 million.
- Acquisition Information:
- The records (Accession No. 7902 ) were transferred in two accessions: two feet from Phyllis Ocker, Associate Director of Women's Athletics, in December 1990 and six feet from the Women's Athletics office in August 1992 through Sandi Burdi
- Custodial History:
By provenance, the Women's Athletics records are properly a subgroup of the University of Michigan Department of Intercollegiate Athletics record group. To enhance access, these records of the Women's Athletics office have been broken out and described separately. Additional material on women's athletics, including media guides, game programs, press releases, and news clippings can be found in the Sports Information Department subgroup of the University of Michigan Department of Intercollegiate Athletics records.
The Women's Athletics records are arranged in five series:
- Administrative Records, 1971-1989, (2.0 linear ft.) including a Topical File, 1973-1989, minutes of committees and the Board in Control of Athletics, correspondence, budget material, and yearly files on individual sports
- Conferences and Governing Bodies, 1973-1989, (4.5 linear ft.) consisting of minutes, reports, and correspondence of committees and governing bodies including the AIAW, MAIAW, SMAIAW, and Big Ten
- Title IX material, 1973-1988 (2.3 linear ft.
- Phyllis Ocker Personal Material (0.2 Linear ft.)
- Photographs (0.1 linear ft.)
Within individual folders the records are often arranged in reverse chronological order.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Sex discrimination in sports -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
Sports for women -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
Women college students -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
Midwest Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
State of Michigan Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
University of Michigan -- Sports.
University of Michigan. Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics.
University of Michigan. Athletic Dept.
University of Michigan -- Students.
University of Michigan. Women's Athletics.
Hartwig, Marie Dorothy.
Using These Materials
The collection is open to research except for the folder "Athletic Scholarship Information" in box 8.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
item, folder title, Box No., Women's Athletics Records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan