MO State HS Sports

TITLE IX AT 50: A Timeline Of Women’s Sports At Mizzou


Throughout 2022, Mizzou Athletics will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX – groundbreaking legislation which paved the way for greater resources and female participation in college athletics. Every day, our female student-athletes harness the power of practice, preparation and competition to grow personally and professionally. They represent Mizzou and the entire state of Missouri on the national stage at the highest level of college athletics. 

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Athletics and college athletics will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, better known as Title IX this coming week on June 23, 2022.

While the last 50 years of women’s sports have been groundbreaking, women’s athletics at Mizzou dates to 1897 when the first women’s intramural basketball games were played. 

The first letters were awarded by the Mizzou Women’s Athletic Association in 1912 and many of the teams competing today for the Tigers were started as club sports by these trailblazers. 


Some historical information was confirmed through Brendon Steenbergen’s book Mizzou Sports through the Ages: An Illustrated Timeline of University of Missouri Athletics. It is available for purchase on Amazon.

1897 – The first intramural women’s basketball games are played at Mizzou.

1904 – Women’s basketball grows in popularity with every class having its own intramural squad.

1912 – The Women’s Athletic Association was formed and female student-athletes from each class competed against each other in basketball, field hockey and tennis.

1915 – First letterwinner sweaters are awarded to women. The Mizzou WAA boasts a membership of over 200 women competing in baseball, basketball, field hockey, gymnastics, tennis and track. A cup was awarded annually to the winning class. 

1917 – Intercollegiate games are played against Christian College – now Columbia College, a crosstown rival. Volleyball plays its first season. 

1919 – Mizzou’s WAA continues its growth, adding additional programs in rope climbing, target shooting and track and field sports. Mizzou Sports Through The Ages Added: “New bleachers were added to the Missouri athletic field, which the women’s teams regularly filled to capacity.”

1922 – A women’s gymnasium, later named McKee Gym, opens. The building was named after Mary McKee, Head of Physical Education for Women at MU from 1923 to 1958.

1966 – Women’s golfer Barbara Berkmeyer was the first female student-athlete to receive an athletic scholarship at Mizzou.

1972 – Signing of the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, better known as Title IX.

1974 – Women’s intercollegiate athletic teams began receiving funding from the University in 1974-75 and were initially administered by the campus’ Department of Physical Education. Basketball, cross country, field hockey golf, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and volleyball became intercollegiate sports. 

1976 – The women’s intercollegiate athletic program was merged with the men’s program to form one Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

1980 – Gymnastics added as an intercollegiate sport.

1996 – Soccer becomes a varsity sport.

Please consider making a gift of $50 (or amount of your choice) to the Tiger Scholarship Fund’s Celebration of Women’s Sports Fund in honor of our female student-athletes’ accomplishments and to position Mizzou for even greater success in women’s athletics in the years ahead. Your donation takes less than five minutes to make and will directly impact the academic and athletic experience of current and future Mizzou student-athletes. 

Please visit the Celebration of Women’s Sports Fund webpage or click the button below to make your gift now.

Follow Mizzou Athletics all year long as we celebrate 50 student-athletes, coaches and friends of women’s sports at Mizzou in honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics