Award Date

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

William Bauer

Second Committee Member

Maria Casas

Third Committee Member

Kendra Gage

Fourth Committee Member

Mark Padoongpatt

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to examine and document the history of Title IX in the American West, specifically at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), and at Clark County School District (CCSD) in Las Vegas, Nevada. This thesis contends that since the late nineteenth-century, women have utilized sports as a method to shed discriminatory stereotypes, fight for inclusion, and promote gender equality. In addition, the progressive actions of educational administrators and community leaders regarding Title IX make both UNR and CCSD exceptional institutions for gender equality. This thesis contains six chapters including the introduction and conclusion. Chapter 1 documents the history of women and sports in the United States before the passage of Title IX. Chapter 2 documents the national response to Title IX. Chapter 3 examines the history and reaction to Title IX at UNR, and my final chapter illustrates the history, response, and execution of Title IX at CCSD. Using historical case study methods, this thesis intended to provide a historical account and analysis of Title IX in the American West. Data sources included: scholarship on the history of sports in the United States, the American West, and Title IX; court documents and legal cases; magazine and newspaper articles; CCSD documents; archived oral histories; and interviews. The questions that guided this thesis were: What role did sports play in the evolution of the Women’s Movement of the 1960s and 1970s and beyond? Given the individual freedoms allowed to certain women, has the American West differed in its application and adherence to Title IX from other regions in the United States? How did UNR respond to the passage of Title IX? How did Clark County School District respond to the passage of Title IX? How has Clark County School District complied with Title IX? This study answers these questions through my research and study of Title IX’s history and impact on both UNR and southern Nevada’s high schools. This study demonstrates that women successfully utilized sports as a catalyst to bring about awareness and change within America’s social and cultural landscape, specifically regarding gender equality. Also, the American West’s historical legacy of greater equality and opportunities for women did manifest itself during the nascent years of the women’s sports programs at UNR and CCSD. Although Title IX initially encountered fierce resistance at UNR, the community of Reno, Nevada rallied behind the pioneering efforts of civic and university leaders to help make UNR a leader in gender equity. In addition, CCSD, although initially proactive and accommodating, was later compelled into compliance by a lawsuit and further potential litigation as the challenges of rapid growth (fifth largest school district in the nation) relegated gender equality to the periphery. Yet, once presented with the challenge of providing equal athletic opportunities to its female student body, CCSD acted quickly and deliberately to remedy its gender inequality. This study demonstrates how women utilized sports as a platform from which they made efforts to bring about social changes. Also, this thesis contests that while gender equity in Nevada can be partially attributed to mandated legal action, the history of Title IX at UNR and CCSD is exceptional to the national experience. The innovative and progressive methods used by the community leaders and educational administrators of Reno and Las Vegas to provide equal opportunities often went beyond the mandates of Title IX. Finally, while women have made significant educational and athletic advancements since the passage of Title IX, there remains an enormous gender disparity among head coaches and athletic administrators at the high school and college levels.


American West; Clark County School District; Nevada; Sports; Title IX; Women's Movement


Ethnic Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | United States History | Women's Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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