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June 24, 2012

Born to play

Title IX increases opportunities for family

A natural athlete, Whitney Jennings could probably excel in just about any sport she put her mind to. But to watch her play with the expert skill and athletic grace that she displays in basketball, it’s almost as if she was born to play the game.

And Logansport fans have taken notice, as they showed up in record numbers this past season during Jennings’ sophomore campaign, with upwards of 3,000-plus in attendance for the Lady Berries’ biggest games. This past season Jennings led the Berries to a 20-win season and their first-ever undefeated season in North Central Conference play. She’s considered a 2014 Miss Basketball candidate and has already received ample interest from Division I programs.

But just two generations ago, her grandmother, Nancy Adams, did not even have an opportunity to play sports competitively. A lot has changed in women’s sports since then, and a driving force behind the change was the landmark legislation, Title IX, that was passed 40 years ago.

Title IX states: “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.”

Veteran Logan girls basketball coach Jerry Hoover said Title IX, indeed, has made a huge impact.

“Title IX forced them to have to be equal. There had to be the same opportunities for girls as there were for boys,” he said. “The national legislation, Title IX, drove that bus.”

Hoover said that before Title IX — when girls did not have the same opportunities as boys — was “another form of discrimination against a segment of our society.”

Whitney’s sister, Rachel, is also a basketball standout who is a particularly good shooter. She has received interest from several schools and is set to get a scholarship to play basketball. And the oldest sister, Shannon, received both athletic and academic scholarships to play soccer at Bethel College, an NAIA school.

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