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Lacrosse Success Is Rooted in the Power of Title IX

Photo: Courtesy of Jeffrey F Lin

Women’s lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, with elite players shining on the international stage. Yet underlying these definite markers of success is an even better testament to the power of sport and Title IX.

Classroom to C-suite

Lacrosse breeds academic and career success for its female athletes. Specifically, women’s lacrosse boasts one of the highest collegiate graduation rates in the country, while NCAA student athletes as a whole comprise a majority of the women in executive positions across the country, like U.S. co-captain Sarah Bullard, a 2011 Duke graduate who’s pursuing her MBA at Harvard this fall after being Vice President for Wheels Up, a private aviation company.

Growth of the game​​​​​​​

Under U.S. Lacrosse’s leadership, the sport has grown from 15,000 female participants in 1976 to just under 320,000 in 2016. At the elite and grassroots levels, lacrosse empowers athletes and young girls to reach their goals in their local communities. “We can be role models for tomorrow’s rising stars,” said Bullard. “We all feel it is important to put in work to grow the game we love.”

Critical foundation

Title IX is the foundation for this summer’s campaign, as the U.S. women’s national team competes for its eighth World Cup gold medal and plays for the first time in the World Games. The law also laid the groundwork for the overall growth of the game.

“Title IX really empowered women in lacrosse,” says Jane Diamond Barbieri, U.S. gold medalist co-captain in the first World Cup in 1982. “It proved that women could indeed play the game. We laid the foundation upon which the U.S. teams could then build — and they sure did build.”

With appreciation of the past and aspirations for the future, female lacrosse players continue to raise the bar as leaders on and off the field.

Caitlin Kelley, Senior Manager, Women’s Game, U.S. Lacrosse, [email protected]

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