Each year, University of Georgia athletic history scholar Jason Hasty presents an exhibit in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library that highlights a different aspect of Georgia’s athletic history. the university. This year, Hasty organized an exhibition called “A Chance to Play: Title IX and Women’s Athletics at UGA”.
As the 50th anniversary of the title IX passing is celebrated in 2022, Hasty wanted to use this milestone to honor the vast success of UGA women’s athletics. The exhibit explores women’s sports from the 1920s to the implementation of Title IX in 1972 and also highlights some of UGA’s greatest female athletes and coaches.
“If you look at the history of women’s track and field here in Georgia, it’s a story of sustained success. There have been over 100 individual and tag team national championships won by women here,” Hasty said. “Great players and great teams have won. There is a tradition of excellence and success, and that should always be celebrated.
One of the women Hasty celebrated in her exhibit is Teresa Edwards, a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Edwards is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist.
Another featured athlete is Lisa Spain Short. Short was the first woman to receive a full tennis scholarship at UGA and was recently inducted into the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.
“It’s not a difficult task for me to… celebrate how great our women’s teams have been over the past 50 years and highlight some of the great athletes and coaches we’ve had. It’s important that we remember these people and recognize them for what they did,” Hasty said.
When visiting the exhibit, it is moving to see the women in UGA’s history being recognized in such a special way. As Hasty said, many sports tend to get overshadowed by football. This is particularly the case in recent years with the success of the football program.
“A Chance to Play: Title IX and Women’s Athletics at UGA,” is a reminder that UGA athletics has many overlooked programs, especially women’s programs, that deserve recognition and celebration.
John Frierson, writer for the UGA Athletic Association, also contributed to the exhibit. He put his talent to good use by writing biographical articles describing the various female athletes featured in the exhibit.
“Once Title IX came into play, women’s sport at UGA was phenomenal. So many national champions, so many Olympians and so many women have done amazing things here,” Frierson said.
“All women’s sports are represented at the exhibition. I think it’s great that the Special Collections Library has this “treasure trove” of athletic memorabilia. One of the things I love is seeing Teresa Edwards’ Olympic uniform there, it’s really cool.
“A Chance to Play: Title IX and Women’s Athletics at UGA” will remain on display in the Rotunda Gallery of the Richard B. Russell Jr. Special Collections Libraries Building through May 2023 and can be viewed during regular business hours – Monday , Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Throughout the fall, there is an in-depth tour of the exhibit given by Hasty on the Friday before each remaining home football game at 3 p.m. The visit is free and no prior registration is necessary.