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Donna De Varona: 1947—: Olympic Swimmer, Sportscaster, Activist

Controversy Over Title Ix

Later in 2003 de Varona took a controversial position regarding the Title IX legislation she had been instrumental in creating during the 1970s. President George Bush had asked Education Secretary Rod Paige to establish a commission to determine whether the legislation should be altered. The commission recommended making certain controversial changes to the legislation; according to Women's E-News the Save Title IX campaign, which opposed the changes, said they would cost high school girls 305,000 opportunities to participate in sports; college women would miss 50,000 participation opportunities as well as $122 million in athletic scholarships.

Opposed to the changes, de Varona, who served on the commission, and another commission member, Julie Foudy, refused to sign the commission's list of propositions for change. As a result, Secretary Paige subsequently announced that he would only consider recommendations for change that won unanimous support from the commission.

In addition to her political work on behalf of women's sports, de Varona continues to work as a broadcaster for Sporting News Radio. On the radio network's website, a press release noted, "Each week [de Varona's] commentary explores and highlights the positive stories of athletes, coaches and the people who support them. She brings to light the behind-the-scenes achievements that often go unnoticed." Summing up her goals in life, de Varona told Marty Benson in the NCAA News, "My passion is to see as many opportunities as possible for as many people as possible, all the way from the grass-roots level to the colleges."



Great Women in Sports, Visible Ink Press, 1996.


Broadcasting and Cable, April 17, 2000, p. 69.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, July 19, 2002, p. K7770; February 25, 2003, p. K2941.

People, May 15, 2000, p. 89.

Sports Illustrated, June 17, 1991, p. 78.

Women's E-News, March 11, 2003, p. 0.


"Donna de Varona," NCAA News, www.ncaa.org (May 7, 2003).

"Donna de Varona," Sporting News Radio, http://radio.sportingnews.com/experts/donna_de_ varona/index.html (May 15, 2003).

"Sporting News Radio's Donna de Varona wins second-consecutive Gracie Allen Award," Sporting News Radio, http://radio.sportingnews.com/about /pres/20010426_donna.html (June 4, 2003).

—Kelly Winters

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Theodosius I to David Watmough Biography - David Watmough comments:Donna De Varona: 1947—: Olympic Swimmer, Sportscaster, Activist Biography - Won Two Gold Medals Before Twenty, Became A Reporter And Activist, Clashed With Abc, Controversy Over Title Ix