Intercollegiate Athletics and Title IX
In 1968, Marlene Mawson organized the first official program for women's intercollegiate athletics under the Department of Physical Education. The passage of Title IX in 1972 did not immediately impact women’s athletics at KU. Coaching turnovers were high as most were faculty and staff volunteers from the Physical Education Department, who were still required to maintain their regular teaching loads. Female athletes were expected to help contribute towards expenses incurred for their sport(s) as funding was still largely through Student Senate and fundraising efforts.
In 1973, Marian Washington was appointed the director of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics under the Kansas Atheletics Corporation. The appointment was made by Executive Vice Chancellor Dale Shankel, an ardent supporter of women’s athletics.
Things began to improve for women's athletics at KU in 1974 when the state allocated $58,575 and the Student Senate $63,860 in funding for the women's program. Washington used the money to help cover the costs of equipment, transportation, and lodging for all nine sports. The mid- to late-1970s were still marked by the ongoing issues of the lack of adequate facilities, funding, and support. The high level of achievement reached athletically and academically in the 1970s is a testament to the quality of those athletes and coaches.
The men’s and women’s athletic programs were merged in 1979 to meet federal funding requirements for women’s athletics under Title IX, but funding for housing was still an issue as late as 1981. KU, like other women’s programs, also had to decide wheither it was going to remain a part of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), move to the NCAA and the Big 8 Conference, or participate in both. KU moved to the NCAA in 1979, and the AIAW folded in 1983.