Support Local Journalism


Subscribe


PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Pioneering sports administrator Joanne Washburn, who spent 39 years at Washington State and was involved in a landmark lawsuit to bring equality to women's sports, has died at the age of 83.

The university said Washburn died on Tuesday in Pullman.

“Jo Washburn should be remembered as a giant in college athletics history,” said WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun. “She fought tirelessly for gender equity and ultimately impacted change that continues to benefit generations of student-athletes.''

Washburn served as women’s athletic director at Washington State from 1965-82. During her time in that role, the women’s athletic program grew to eight varsity sports: volleyball, basketball, field hockey, skiing, tennis, track & field, gymnastics and swimming. Additionally, the annual budget grew from $2,000 to more than $1 million.

Washburn, along with 12 other coaches and 39 student athletes, filed a lawsuit in 1979 against WSU for failing to comply with Title IX, the 1972 federal law mandating gender equity for educational institutions receiving federal financial support. The lawsuit became a landmark women’s rights case, setting a precedent for all public four-year colleges and universities in the state.

Following her time as an administrator, Washburn became a full-time professor of physical education. She retired in 2004.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Comments

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.