The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) was founded in 1971 to govern collegiate women's athletics in the United States and to administer national championships (see AIAW Champions). It evolved out of the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (founded in 1967). The association was one of the biggest advancements for women's athletics on the collegiate level. Throughout the 1970s, the AIAW grew rapidly in membership and influence, in parallel with the national growth of women's sports following the enactment of Title IX. The AIAW functioned in the equivalent role for college women's programs that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) had been doing for men's programs. Owing to its own success, the AIAW was in a vulnerable position that precipitated conflicts with the NCAA in the early 1980s. Following a one-year overlap in which both organizations staged women's championships, the AIAW discontinued operation, and most member schools continued their women's athletics programs under the governance of the NCAA.
Women's intercollegiate athletics were organized on a national basis in 1941, the year the first national collegiate championship was held in the sport of golf by the Division for Girls' and Women's Sports (DGWS) of the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. During the late 1950s and the 1960s, many colleges around the country had started women's sports teams that competed with other schools in their respective geographic areas. In 1956 the Tripartite Committee was formed by representatives of three organizations: the National Association for Physical Education for College Women, the National Association for Girls' and Women's Sport, and the American Federation of College Women.
Upon the recommendation of the Tripartite Committee, the National Joint Committee on Extramural Sports for College Women (NJCESCW) was formed in 1957 to guide and administer women's intercollegiate athletic programs.In 1965, with the desire to consolidate governance of women's intercollegiate athletics under one organization, the NJCESCW disbanded and agreed to let the DGWS assume control over competition and extramural events.
The first action the DGWS took was to establish the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (CIAW) to assume responsibility for designing, sponsoring, and sanctioning women’s intercollegiate sports and championships.The purposes of the CIAW were (1) to provide the framework and organization for women's intercollegiate athletic opportunities and (2) to sponsor national championships for college women under the authority of the DGWS.
The AIAW developed from the CIAW in recognition of the need for institutional membership and elected representation. Formation of the AIAW was approved by the DGWS Council and the AAHPER Board of Directors in 1971,but the CIAW continued to operate until early 1972, at which time the AIAW officially came into existence, with over 280 schools as members.
At that time the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) had no interest in women's athletics, and administrators of the AIAW had no interest in the NCAA either. The NCAA was seen as being commercially driven and neglecting the meaning of the student-athlete. There were distinct differences between the two associations in the AIAW's early years. For example, student-athletes playing in AIAW programs were allowed to transfer freely between schools, and to prevent unfair advantages, programs were initially forbidden to offer scholarships and recruit off-campus.The AIAW continued the rules established by the CIAW, which were intended to prohibit unethical practices that were observed in men's sports. To enforce the rules, students receiving scholarships were forbidden from championship participation. The ban on scholarships ended in 1973, following a lawsuit by players and coaches from two colleges in Florida. The AIAW was not without criticism however, as some outsiders and individual members complained that the association devoted too much time, efforts, and funds securing distinction and independence from the NCAA.
The annual softball tournaments and basketball tournaments received the most publicity and drew the biggest crowds; however, the association organized championships in various other sports. They included mainstream sports like volleyball and tennis but were as far reaching as badminton and fencing. Aside from national championships, individual schools worked together to stage annual state championships.
While in existence, the AIAW organized and administered all competition at the regional and national levels. In 1981-82 the organization offered 41 national championships in 19 sports — badminton, basketball, cross country, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, indoor track and field, lacrosse, rowing, skiing, soccer, softball (fast and slow pitch), swimming and diving, synchronized swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.
The 1973 Basketball Tournament was the first sign that women's sports could be financially successful. Over 3,000 fans watched the final game between Queens and Immaculata,and the tournament earned over $4,500 in profits. In 1975 these two teams met again, this time in Madison Square Garden. The first women's basketball game to be played in the arena drew a crowd of more than 12,000 spectators. The AIAW started to take advantage of corporate sponsorships and television payouts not unlike its male counterpart, but on a smaller scale.
In 1972, the United States Congress passed Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. Although the impact today is primarily discussed in terms of the impact on athletics, the bill made no explicit mention of athletics. The bill provided that neither men nor women could "be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance".The task of issuing regulations fell to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW). One of its early decisions was that athletic programs would indeed be subject to the requirements of the law. The effect was to require the creation of new women's teams instead of stipulating that women could simply try out for men's teams. Consequently, the regulations required colleges to provide equal opportunities for both genders in collegiate athletics. Any school that received federal funds was required to provide gender equality by the 1978-79 school year. In 1974 colleges started giving scholarships to female student-athletes. That year (aside from the exceptional Wayland College basketball team in the 1950s ), Ann Meyers became the first female to receive a full scholarship by committing to play for UCLA. Title IX is credited with the vast improvement in funding for women's athletics. By 1980, the average university spent over 16% of its athletics budget on women's sports. In the early 1970s that number was less than 1%.
Although the regulations promulgated under the law required additional funding for women's teams, athletic directors did not immediately embrace the requirements.Their concerns included the relative inability for many schools to sufficiently fund the necessary women's teams, making it possible for the budgets for men's teams to be reduced to achieve compliance. The NCAA, which regulated men's intercollegiate sports, raised money to help fight Title IX. In 1974 the Senate passed the Tower Amendment, which decreed that Title IX did not cover football or other revenue-producing sports. The recently formed AIAW responded, hiring a lawyer, Margot Polivy, to fight the Tower Amendment. Their efforts were successful, as a joint Congressional conference committee decided to eliminate the Tower Amendment.
On June 1, 1979, the AIAW assumed a separate legal identity and became a nonprofit corporation in the District of Columbia.Then in 1981, following the NCAA's decision to offer championships for women in its top competitive division, Division I, the AIAW suffered substantial losses of members and revenue.
At its peak, the AIAW had almost 1,000 member schools. In the late 1970s, however, schools began to realize that women's athletics could be profitable, and the NCAA decided to offer women's championships. The NCAA's Divisions II and III voted to offer championships in 1980; however, Division I members failed to gain a majority vote on this issue until the 1981 national meeting. This decision was quite contentious. During the tense floor debate, AIAW representatives objected to the motion to sponsor Division I championships, but their objections were met with pockets of "ridicule and hissing".After considerable debate, a vote was called, and the initial result was a tie, 124–124. A recount of the votes revealed the defeat of the motion by a vote of 128–127. However, parliamentary rules permit "reconsideration" of a vote if someone on the prevailing side asks for it. Several delegates on the losing side knew of one institution that had voted against the motion but whose faculty representative favored the NCAA position. When the influencer of the school’s "nay" vote left the room, those delegates prevailed upon that representative to request reconsideration. This time it passed, 137–117.
For the 1981-82 academic year, schools were able to compete in either the NCAA or the AIAW championships. There were a few occasions when a school participated in both tournaments that year (Florida in gymnastics, 1982; Oklahoma State in softball, 1982; indeed the University of Tulsa won both the AIAW and NCAA women's golf championships in 1982). However, the battle of members had started, as schools whose men's teams were already participating in the NCAA started to integrate their women's teams. Although some schools permitted their individual women's teams to choose, most schools made the weighty decision to support only one of the two organizations. The AIAW had fought for women's rights in the Title IX battle, while the NCAA had opposed those efforts. In contrast, the NCAA was much better funded and had better access to television contracts.The University of Texas, where the last AIAW president, Donna Lopiano, was the women's athletics director, was one of the stronger holdouts. But when seventeen of the top twenty basketball teams agreed to enter the NCAA tournament, it proved to be the end for the AIAW.
In 1982 the first Division I NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament was held.The NCAA was able to offer incentives, such as payment of transportation costs, to participating members, something the AIAW was not able to do. When former AIAW powerhouses like Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, and Old Dominion decided to participate in the NCAA tournament, the AIAW tournament lost much of its appeal and popularity.
NBC canceled its TV contract with the association, and in mid-1982 the AIAW stopped operations in all sports. Following the last AIAW sanctioned event in 1982, the AIAW pursued a federal anti-trust suit against the NCAA.But one year later, after the presiding judge ruled against the organization, the AIAW ceased existence on June 30, 1983.
Under NCAA governance, scholarships increased. However, several problems the NCAA was facing, then and now, began to also affect women's intercollegiate athletics. Examples of these include recruiting irregularities and increased turnover in coaching positions for revenue-producing sports.
Several AIAW championships were televised by the TVS Television Network in 1979.
The Women's College World Series (WCWS) is the final portion of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship for college softball in the United States. The tournament format consists of two four-team double-elimination brackets. The winners of each bracket then compete in a best-of-three series to determine the Division I WCWS National Champion. The WCWS takes place at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. From 1969 to 1981, the women's collegiate softball championship was also known as the Women's College World Series and was promoted as such. During 1969–1979, the series was played in Omaha, after which the AIAW held the series in 1980–1982 in Norman, Oklahoma. There were two competing World Series tournaments in 1982. The NCAA held its first six Division I tournaments in Omaha in 1982–1987, followed by Sunnyvale, California in 1988–1989. The event has been held in Oklahoma City every year since then, except for 1996 in Columbus, Georgia when they wanted to show that it would be a good place for softball to be played during the 1996 Olympics.
The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women was founded in 1971 to govern collegiate women’s athletics and to administer national championships. During its existence, the AIAW and its predecessor, the Division for Girls' and Women's Sports (DGWS), recognized via these championships the teams and individuals who excelled at the highest level of women's collegiate competition.
The NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament is an annual tournament to determine the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II women's college basketball national champion. Basketball was one of 12 women's sports added to the NCAA championship program for the 1981–82 school year, as the NCAA and Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) sought for sole governance of women's collegiate athletics. The AIAW continued to conduct its established championships; however, after a year of dual women's championships at the national level, the AIAW disbanded.
Addie Jo "Jody" Conradt is a retired women's basketball coach. She was the head coach for the women's team at University of Texas at Austin (UT). Her coaching career spanned 38 years, with the last 31 years at UT from 1976 to 2007. She also served concurrently as the UT women's athletic director from 1992 to 2001. During her tenure at UT, she achieved several notable personal and team milestones in collegiate basketball. At retirement, she had tallied 900 career victories, second place in all time victories for an NCAA Division I basketball coach. Conradt was inducted in the inaugural class at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
The NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship refers to one of three championships in women's indoor volleyball contested by the NCAA since 1981:
Wayland Baptist University (WBU) is private Baptist university based in Plainview, Texas. Wayland Baptist has a total of 14 campuses in five Texas cities, six states, American Samoa, and Kenya. It was originally chartered in 1908 and currently has a total enrollment of approximately 5,000 students.
Pat Meiser is a college women's basketball coach. She is best known for her 6-year run as head coach of Penn State, in which she compiled a 92-52 record. Following that, she became the athletics director at the University of Hartford. She was named one of the nation's top 50 women's sports executives by Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal. She has also worked as the associate athletic director at the University of Connecticut.
Christine Grant is a former athlete and athletic director at the University of Iowa. She was inducted into the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006. Grant was also inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Kansas State Wildcats women's basketball program is the intercollegiate basketball program of the Kansas State Wildcats. The program is classified in the NCAA Division I, and the team competes in the Big 12 Conference.
The AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament was a national tournament for women's collegiate basketball teams in the United States, held annually from 1972 to 1982. The winners of the AIAW tournaments from 1972 to 1981 are recognized as the national champions for those years.
The West Chester Golden Rams represent West Chester University of Pennsylvania, which is located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in intercollegiate sports. They compete in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in NCAA Division II.
The Cal State East Bay Pioneers are the athletic teams that represent California State University, East Bay, located in Hayward, California, in NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports. The Pioneers compete as members of the California Collegiate Athletic Association for all 15 varsity sports except for women's water polo, which competes in the Western Water Polo Association.
The Texas Woman's Pioneers are the athletics teams that represent Texas Woman's University, located in Denton, Texas, in NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports. Even though TWU accepts male students, only female sports are sponsored. The Pioneers compete as members of the Lone Star Conference in basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball, and as an independent in gymnastics. The gymnastics team competes in the Midwest Independent Conference which comprises NCAA Division I, II and III institutions.
The NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship is the National Collegiate Athletic Association's tennis tournament to determine the Team Championships, Singles Championships, and Doubles Championships for women's tennis athletes from Division I institutions. Tennis was one of twelve women's sports added to the NCAA championship program for the 1981-82 school year, as the NCAA engaged in battle with the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women for sole governance of women's collegiate sports. The AIAW continued to conduct its established championship program in the same twelve sports; however, after a year of dual women's championships, the NCAA conquered the AIAW and usurped its authority and membership.
The NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Tournament is an annual event that leads to the championship in women's volleyball from teams in Division I contested by the NCAA each winter since 1981. Stanford won the most recent tournament, defeating Wisconsin 3-0 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
The NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Tournament is the annual event that decides the championship contested by the NCAA. It determines the national champion of Division II women's collegiate volleyball. It has been held annually since 1981, typically played in December after the fall regular season.
Betty Faith Jaynes was an American basketball coach. She played basketball in high school in Georgia, and coached basketball at James Madison University. She was the first executive director of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and is inducted into several sports halls of fame. Jaynes was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Mid-American Conference Gymnastics Championships is the conference championship meet for women's gymnastics in the Mid-American Conference, a Division I member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). All conference members qualify for the championship meet, which is held in three rounds. The winner of the championship receives a regional berth to the NCAA Division I Women's Gymnastics Championships. The tournament began in 1981 and is rotated between the home arenas of the seven conference members. Through the 2019 championship, Central Michigan has won the most championships with 16, followed by Kent State with 12.