Ryan Chartrand

Women’s sports in San Luis Obispo go way back. It’s hard to believe, but the city had an organized casaba team as early as the ’40s.

What is a casaba squad?

Casaba was at one time the name for basketball, which was the earliest sport women competed in. In its 1908 course catalogue, the college even said that “the playgrounds are ample and include separate tennis and basket ball courts for the girls.”

Even as early as June 7, 1906 when the first class had its graduation, there is mention of Annie Schneider’s talent at the center position.

In the commencement edition of “The Poly Journal” – the monthly publication at the time – is a blurb of what Schneider left to her fellow classmates, including “… my surplus height, seven feet one inch, to Mae Brew, my hatred for the male sex to Grace Long, as it may establish new motives for her future…”

It wasn’t for another 90 years that the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) would be established so that women could compete professionally.

A true women’s basketball team was not brought together until after the passing of Title IX of the Educational Amendments, which passed in 1972. It stated that “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid.” This meant that money had to be divided up evenly between both men’s and women’s programs.

Today, Cal Poly has 10 athletic teams open to women as well as many club teams.

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