Title IX at Ball State: A Tennis Coach Fights Back
During this season of giving, we’re sharing stories about how AAUW’s programs affect real women and girls all over the country. The following story originally appeared in the 2013 AAUW annual report.
For 21 years, Kathy Bull served as the head coach for the women’s tennis team at Ball State University in Indiana. There she advocated for Title IX and mentored young women coaches. But midseason in 2009, the university abruptly fired Bull, allegedly for NCAA violations. Bull, however, claimed she was fired in retaliation for speaking out in favor of gender equity in the school’s athletic department — and she promptly filed suit under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
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In July 2013, Bull — who received case support from AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund — settled her lawsuit with Ball State and was awarded more than $700,000 in cash and benefits, an outcome she couldn’t have attained without LAF and its passionate donors.
“When AAUW came on board, I was at my breaking point,” explains Bull. “AAUW brought not only much-needed fiscal support but also the emotional support I needed. All of a sudden this wasn’t just my battle; women all over the country were behind me.”
Sports have always played a huge part in Bull’s life. She credits many of her opportunities to Title IX, and she is happy that her case will encourage others to pay attention to the law. “I know that Ball State is a better place now for female coaches and student athletes,” Bull says. “I am proud that I can give back to the hundreds of women who will walk the halls of Ball State but I’ll never meet — they are going to have a better, more quality experience because of my case.”
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