VP for Intercollegiate Athletics Campos Reflects on 40 Years of Title IX
By Andrew Tomsky, NAU Media Relations
Photo Courtesy Sarah Hamilton/The Lumberjack
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – With the 40th anniversary of the historic Title IX legislation taking place on Saturday, NAU Athletics' extensive group of female administrators and coaches took time to talk about the impact of the legislation on their lives as women working in collegiate athletics.
Dr. Lisa Campos, who became just the 26th female athletic director at the NCAA Division-I level with her appointment as Northern Arizona Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics on March 30, was able to achieve her dream of leading an athletic department in large part due to the increases in funding opportunities and support for female athletics as a result of Title IX.
"Obviously it's opened the door for women not just in athletics but in institutions and universities as a whole," said Campos. "We're seeing a trend in universities now where the majority of students are women. In terms of student athletes, it's led to a tremendous amount of growth. Opportunities for women have grown exponentially compared to men and it's given an opportunity for women and girls to be playing the sports that they love and opening the doors for getting positions like the one I have and others within athletic departments."
Campos came to NAU from the University of Texas at El Paso, where she served as the senior associate athletic director and previously as the associate athletic director and senior women's administrator (SWA), a roll that elevated women into positions of authority and ensured that a female administrator was overseeing the equitable funding and support for female athletic programs.
"SWA is a role that is a result of Title IX that used to be called the primary women's administrator," noted Campos. "It was really a way for women to get a seat at the table and we can see how that has helped over time. It hasn't happened that quickly but it has led to more women being in senior role positions and being able to be an athletic director."
While Campos herself was not a collegiate athlete, she has seen the dramatic role that competing in team sports can have on young girls and women in building confidence and self esteem not only in competition but off the court as well. Such opportunities were not available prior to the implementation of Title IX.
"Girls are able to play any sport they want now growing up and don't realize that 40 years ago those opportunities weren't available to them," says Campos. "It's opening the door and giving more opportunities for women and we will continue to see growth in women's athletics. In terms of confidence, whether it's for boys or girls we all know that team sports provide so much intangibles from leadership to team work to self esteem and confidence."
Seven years after Title IX went into effect in 1972, the Council of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (CCWAA) was created by a group of female administrators with the goal of enhancing opportunities for women in athletics. In 1992, in order to better represent its diversified members, the CCWAA changed its name to the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA).
Expanding from its moderate beginnings, NACWAA now boasts nearly 1,700 members from universities, colleges, conferences and affiliated organizations across the country and holds annual institutes and conferences for women who aspire for leadership roles within intercollegiate athletics. Campos is a graduate of the 2011 Executive Institute and returned as a keynote speaker for the first 2012 Institute for Administrative Advancement during the first week of June in Atlanta.
"NACWAA is a tremendous organization for women which tries to promote women administrators in athletics," Campos said. "They have a series of different professional development opportunities and it's a network for women who aspire to grow in this profession. I'm very thankful for NACWA, as last July I was in their executive institute for women who are ready to make that next move to be an athletic director and less than a year later I am in that position. They really prepare women leaders for those opportunities."
NACWAA hosts two institutes each year which have a variety of men and women speakers who are experts in specific areas of intercollegiate athletics. Only 40 women are selected to attend each institute, with a detailed application process required for admittance. The institute that Campos spoke at was geared toward middle level managers looking to get an SWA position as well as directors and advisers hoping to make the move to assistant and associate athletic directors.
She spoke specifically about internal operations of an athletic department, in terms of sports management responsibilities, overseeing sports medicine, strength and conditioning, life skills, and academics and managing coaches and budgets. A presenter followed Campos regarding external operations, while there was also a speaker from a search firm who enlightened the attendees about how to interview and what athletic directors are looking for in prospective associate and assistant AD's. NAU associate athletic director and senior women's administrator Beth Vechinski subsequently attended the West 2012 Institute for Administrative Advancement last week in Denver.
While the text of Title IX - "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity" - makes no mention of athletics, its impact has been most felt in the world of female sports, and 40 years after its inception female athletes and athletic administrators continue to progress but face challenges. Campos is just the 26th female athletic director out of more than 330 NCAA Division-I universities, as while female athletes have seen the playing field leveled those women looking for careers leading intercollegiate athletic departments know there is still work to be done.
"We still have a lot of growth to do in Title IX," says Campos. "The work is not over and we still have to have a law in place for equity. Although we have made some movement there is still a long way to go and still a lot of work to be done. But I think that institutions are making the commitment and are making sure that women's sports are aligned with the men's sports. You can see a lot of parity in women's sports and I'm excited to be here and to see the continued growth of our women's programs."