So much time has gone into the writing of this book—and so much help has been given along the way—that it is a bit daunting to try to put my gratitude into words. So I’ll start at the beginning. I had no idea I was interested in Title IX when I graduated from law school in 1990, knowing only that I wanted to practice public interest law and work on women’s issues. After a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship and a one-year clerkship with the legendary Honorable Constance Baker Motley, I was lucky enough to land a Skadden Fellowship to work at the National Women’s Law Center for two years. I eventually became a senior counsel at the Center and stayed until leaving for academia in 1998. I am grateful for the opportunities I had at the Center and for the chance to be involved in much of the Title IX litigation and advocacy work that took off in the early 1990s. I had a wonderful mentor in Ellen Vargyas, who trusted me to write briefs, take depositions, and work with clients, despite my youth and inexperience. I learned much from Marcia Greenberger, founder and co-president of the Center, and the other Center staff. Without these experiences, I would not have written this book, and my life would likely have taken other different turns, as well. None of it would have been possible had I not benefited from a generous law school loan forgiveness plan that enabled me to fulfill my wish of going into public interest law. Law students today, as then, graduate with a tremendous and often unmanageable debt, and more law schools should find a way to broaden their loan forgiveness programs so that they too can have the chance to pursue public interest careers.
Once at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where I started teaching in 1998, I benefited from the best mentor imaginable in Martha Chamallas. I wrote three law review articles on issues related to Title IX in my first three years, and Martha improved every one of them. I have continued to benefit from her comments and conversations throughout the years, most recently from an opportunity to present a work-in-progress talk on pregnancy and sports at Ohio State University, her current academic home. Martha first suggested turning my Title IX work into a book back in 2001, and, (p.x) as with so much of her advice, I only wish I had followed it sooner. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic were instrumental in turning that idea into a reality, inviting me to submit a book proposal for their series with NYU Press and providing helpful feedback and encouragement along the way. When I finally started to make progress in writing a draft, Jules Lobel read the first two chapters and provided helpful commentary and encouragement at a time when they were sorely needed. I am grateful in general for the supportive colleagues and environment at the University of Pittsburgh and, in particular, for many conversations about the writing process and motivational strategies with Lu-in Wang. I benefited from generous support for this project from the Dean’s Scholarship Fund of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, from stellar research support from the law school’s super-sleuth librarians, and from the equally wonderful word processing staff in the law school’s Document Technology Center. In the course of my ten years as a law professor at Pitt, I have had many research assistants who have helped with my work on Title IX in one way or another, so many that I cannot list them all. But, in particular, research assistance from Wendy Doernberg, Elizabeth Farina, Amanda Fisher, Holly Glymour, Chris Helms, Aubrey Jones, Molly Suda, and Nicole Tracy helped bring this book to fruition.
One of the best things that came out of my time at the Center was the chance to make two lifelong friends in Verna Williams and Joanna Grossman, both of whom are now colleagues in the law professoriate. Much of my thinking on Title IX has been shaped by my work with Verna, including the experience of co-writing a law review article with her on the intersection of race and gender in sport (“The Heart of the Game: Putting Race and Educational Equity at the Center of Title IX,” 7 Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal 199 ). And Joanna Grossman is that rare friend who read every single word of a book-length manuscript, over a ridiculously short period of time, and gave thoughtful and careful editorial suggestions and comments on the entire project. It will be a long, long time before I repay that debt.
In between submitting the book proposal and writing the book, I gave birth to two daughters. Those experiences more than anything else inspired me to finish this book, in the hope that Title IX will continue to change the world for the next generation of girls and young women, even as it forced me to hone my time management skills. For the unconditional love and support that allowed me to complete this project and for being an equal partner in parenting to make that possible, I am grateful to Todd Hoffman. And last but not least, I am grateful to my mother, Sandra Brake, and my father, Don Brake, for instilling in me the belief that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to do.