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Title IX: First UT Martin scholarship recipient can see now

Title IX: First UT Martin scholarship recipient can see now

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 12:00 pm

Amy (Underwood) Veazey never ran up and down the length of the basketball court and she never played defense at Henry County High School, but that didn’t stop her from signing the first scholarship to play the game she loved at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Veazey didn’t pay much attention to the news nor did she have a twitter account in 1972, but she did catch the news about Title IX in June of 1972.
And she didn’t understand it.
So, like most things she didn’t understand, she asked her parents. “Will this Title IX thing eventually help me?”
Without hesitation her parents quickly answered. They told the Henry County player this new law that Richard Nixon signed on June 23, 1972, would enable her to get a scholarship for college and play basketball.
“To me, Title IX meant I would have to run up and down the court and play defense,” Veazey said. “I was a rover. They gave me the ball and I would shoot it.”
In August of 1976, Veazey met Bettye Giles and Nadine Gearin from UT Martin. Giles was the woman’s athletic director at the time and Gearin was the head women’s basketball coach.
“I still have a powerful respect for Nadine Gearin and Bettye Giles,” Veazey said. “They treated me and all the players like we were their own.
“We didn’t have a team room or anything like they have now. We had a simple and small locker room and we were proud of it.”
At 18, she didn’t know the ramifications of Title IX.
“I knew I wanted to play for Nadine Gearin and there was no doubt I want to play at UT Martin,” she said.
“I wanted to be a teacher and a coach. Going to UT Martin was the perfect place. I didn’t have to go far from home and my friends and family could watch me play. “I was at the right place at the right time.”
Not only was Veazey the first female player to sign a hoopscholarship, she was the first to earn a graduated assistantship after she finished her eligibility.
Now 40 years later, Veazey, a middle school principal in Henry County, realizes how important signing of Title IX was.
“As time goes, I realize how monumental Title IX is. I am sure UT Martin does not have all the money it needs, but Title IX has made a difference. Women’s athletics overall at UT Martin is beginning to experience success,” she said.
“These players have a lot of nice things that we didn’t have back then, but they deserve everything they get and more.” Published in The WCP 6.26.12

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