MYRTLE BEACH SC – Fifty years ago this year, on June 23, 1972, then President Richard M. Nixon signed the groundbreaking legislation that made the United Bank Holiday Invitational and Carolina’s College Challenge possible. Title IX stated that “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 educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Those 37 words served as the groundwork to open a floodgate of opportunities for girls in high school sports, and literally millions of girls have seized that opportunity to excel beyond everyone’s expectations. While Title IX did not specifically mention high school sports, it paved the way for girls at all levels to have the same opportunities to compete in sports and education as boys had.
Think for a minute about the millions of girls who have been able to play sports in education-based programs over the last 50 years. There is no doubt that many of those girls used their experience and life lessons of competitive team high school and college sports to assist them in becoming successful, whether as a working professional, a community leader, or as a mother raising their children who, in turn, got those same opportunities to compete in high school and college sports programs provided through Title IX.
In addition, some girls were able to use their high school sports opportunity to fuel their future athletic and professional success to incredible heights. We don’t have to look far in South Carolina to find a shining example of the great success women’s sports and Title IX have provided.
One of the greatest success stories with great ties to South Carolina is current South Carolina Gamecocks Women’s Basketball Head Coach Dawn Staley. Staley got her start at Murrell Dobbins Tech High School, North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was he national player of the year as a high school senior and went on to lead the University of Virginia to three NCAA Final Four appearances. She won three Olympic gold medals as a player and one as coach of the U.S. team and has led the University of South Carolina to two NCAA women’s basketball championships in the last five years. In 2021, due to her great success, Staley signed a historic seven-year, $22.4 million contract that has implications not only with in the sports world but for equal pay for women everywhere.
While Title IX was never just all about sports, it has certainly allowed women’s sports to be a cause for celebration and advancement with implications far beyond the sports world. The United Bank Holiday Invitational has existed since 1999 because of Title IX and we celebrate the impact this groundbreaking legislation had and continues to have for the equality of all women throughout the United States. It has been an impressive first 50 years and if the success created during this timeframe is any indication, the next 50 years will inspire us all beyond our wildest dreams.
About The United Bank Holiday Invitational and Carolinas College Challenge
Started in 1999, by then Tournament Director and President of the Beachball Classic Tournament, John Rhodes, the United Bank Holiday Invitational and Carolinas College Challenge sought to bring the same opportunity and national exposure boys’ basketball had experienced since 1981 with the Beachball Classic to the premier national holiday tournament in Myrtle Beach SC. The Beachball Classic, Carolina’s College Challenge, and United Bank Holiday Invitational strive to create a fun, memorable, high value experience for teams and fans, while promoting and supporting high school and college basketball over the holiday season.