Daywatch: As Title IX turns 50, here are 50 women who have impacted Illinois sports

Good morning, Chicago.

Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Education Amendments Act, which included a section barring discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity that receives federal assistance.

Now known simply as Title IX, it has become the most impactful piece of legislation on women’s sports. But its 37 words would mean nothing without the women who enforced them, fought against their opponents and inspired generations of athletes.

This spring, a team of Chicago Tribune women set out to learn more about some of those women.

Even as women’s sports were stifled and sometimes outright banned, even as their teams were relegated to smaller gyms and paid less money, millions of girls and women have made sports a piece of their lives. These are some of those women.

As part of Title IX’s 50-year anniversary, hear from women who led area sports programs through major changes in the 1970s. They reflected recently to the Tribune on their teams’ journeys and challenges — but also the remaining spaces for improvement. And view a timeline of key events before, during after after the 1972 passage of the landmark U.S. law known as Title IX.

Here are the top stories you need to know to start your day.

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Sounding like a potential presidential candidate, former Vice President Mike Pence contended Monday that the nation’s economic woes were almost entirely the result of Democratic President Joe Biden’s policies, and told an audience at the University Club of Chicago that without a turnaround, Americans will “change leadership very soon.”

Speaking for nearly 40 minutes before a few hundred people in an ornate hall, Pence touted the economic successes of the “Trump-Pence administration,” but made no direct reference to the man he served under, former President Donald Trump. Nor did he say anything about Trump’s efforts to pressure him to block the outcome of the 2020 election in the lead-up to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, where rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence.”

Daywatch: As Title IX turns 50, here are 50 women who have impacted Illinois sports

About half a dozen families were already waiting in the parking lot of Rana-Reagan Pharmacy in Bloomingdale when it opened Monday morning.

Co-owner Bhavna Modi told the families that COVID-19 vaccines for young children had not yet arrived, and they might want to check back later. But they insisted on waiting. Some had brought coolers with food for the day.

“They said they don’t mind waiting,” Modi said. “It’s very emotional. They say their kids will be able to go to summer school and see their grandparents.”

Their patience was soon rewarded.

Daywatch: As Title IX turns 50, here are 50 women who have impacted Illinois sports

Former state Sen. Thomas Cullerton faces a potential federal prison sentence today for pocketing more than a quarter of a million dollars in salary and benefits from the Teamsters union despite doing little or no work.

Cullerton, 52, a Democrat from Villa Park, pleaded guilty to embezzlement in March, two weeks after abruptly resigning from office. Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of up to 18 months in prison, while his attorneys requested a period of probation. Cullerton is one of seven former members of the Illinois General Assembly to be charged with federal crimes during that stretch.

Daywatch: As Title IX turns 50, here are 50 women who have impacted Illinois sports

Biologists have been working for three decades on a recovery project for the Illinois-endangered Blanding’s turtle, whose numbers were declining due to an increase in predators and habitat destruction. Now the species faces a new threat: a fungal disease that eats through the shell creating a Swiss cheese effect.

Recently, three wild Blanding’s turtles in northeastern Illinois tested positive for the fungus. Chicago-area facilities that raise turtle hatchlings before releasing them into the wild also learned that water in 40% of their habitat tubs contained the fungus.

Daywatch: As Title IX turns 50, here are 50 women who have impacted Illinois sports

Cubs owners throughout the years, the Tribune’s Paul Sullivan writes, have counted on fans being oblivious to the failures of the team on the field, knowing that no matter how bad it gets there always will be young fans looking for a party atmosphere.

The Cuppies have taken over from the yuppies, but the song remains the same. The bleachers are part of Wrigley Field, but watching the game isn’t mandatory.

Daywatch: As Title IX turns 50, here are 50 women who have impacted Illinois sports

A prime spot on Randolph Street in the West Loop that has been empty for two years is showing signs of life. The former Bar Hunter space has been transformed into Nisos Mediterranean, a massive two-story, 9,000-square-foot restaurant. It is set to open July 8.

Along with serving dishes traditional to the Mediterranean, chef Avgeria Stapaki is importing around 40% of the food from the area. “I’m bringing in all of the fish from the Aegean Sea,” she said. “It’ll be caught in the morning, flown over here, and the next morning, it’ll be in my kitchen.”

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