BREVARD, NORTH CAROLINA (June 22, 2012) – In 1972, the United States Congress passed Title IX, calling for equality in high school and collegiate athletics, and Brevardian Dr. Karol Kahrs remains heralded as an early pioneer in the resulting development of women’s intercollegiate athletics. The landmark piece of legislation known as Title IX requires schools that receive federal funds to provide girls and women with equal opportunity to compete in sports, as well as access to higher education, career education, standardized testing, and more.
In 1974, two years after Congress passed Title IX, Kahrs was hired to create and develop the women’s intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Illinois. Kahrs carefully nurtured the Illinois women’s athletics program from the beginning with seven sports and an $83,500 annual budget to a program that features 10 women’s teams and is ranked nationally in nearly every sport program. Under her direction and leadership, Illinois was one of the first institutions to be reviewed by the Office of Civil Rights and found to be in compliance with Title IX guidelines in 1981. Kahrs retired from the University of Illinois, Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, after completing her athletic administration career of 36 years.
In the early days of women’s intercollegiate athletics, Kahrs was a selected representative from the University of Illinois and the NCAA to Senate Subcommittee Hearings on the Tower Amendment and Title IX. Within the Big Ten Conference, Kahrs was the first chairman of the Big Ten Women’s Athletic Administrators from 1974-1976, a post she also held in 1984-85 and 1995-1997. Kahrs also chaired numerous committees within the Big Ten Conference and served on the ad hoc committee that submitted the initial proposal to the Council of Ten to add women’s intercollegiate athletics to the big Ten Conference in 1981.
Kahrs earned a B.S. in physical education from Georgia in 1962, and M.S. in Physical Education from The Ohio State University and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Foundations and Professional Preparation from OSU in 1972.
Today, Kahrs works at Executive Planners Inc. in Brevard, N.C. providing public relations and client relation services in the recruitment of new clients. Executive Planners, 30 Green Acres Avenue, Brevard NC 28712 (828) 877-8626.