Women’s Recreational Sports on a New Campus

Today the words "women" and "sports" go hand in hand without hesitation or doubt; in fact, it is actually encouraged to participate in sports for physical, educational, and social reasons. However, this was not always the case, sentiments were very different before the implementation of Title IX. When the Eau Claire State Normal School College was first established the only varsity sports available were men's football and basketball. In 1916 the college only consisted of one building, however as the campus and student body grew, the sports available to women did not. On the other hand, the amount of funding and number of varsity sports available to men grew in each decade. 

Beginning in 1926 the closest that women could get to playing a sport was through the Women’s Athletic Association (W.A.A.), a national organization. The Women’s Athletic Association was an organization where women could only gain full membership through a points system. As members of the W.A.A. women were able to participate in non-competitive sports. Owing to the local efforts to support soldiers during World War II there were no varsity sports in the 1940s.

From the 1930s to the 1970s female students at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire participated in what became known as “play days”. Play days held individual and team sport events, which were used for social and physical activities. Women varsity sports did not come into play until the 1970s with the implementation of Title IX into the educational system.