Amy Veazey: UT Martin's First Female Athlete to Sign an Athletic Scholarship

Adam Wells

Martin, Tenn - In the summer of 1972 Congress passed a new education act, now known as Title IX. It wasn't until the spring of 1976 when the first female athletes were given the opportunity to sign scholarships.

"[It was] being at the right place at the right time. Universities across the state were trying to get us to play and were recruiting us," former Skyhawk basketball player Amy Veazey said. "It was a new adventure for all of us."

Amy Underwood, now Amy Veazey, became the first UT Martin female athlete to sign an athletic scholarship.

"It had been in the newspapers and on television," Veazey said. "I remember asking my parents if it affected me in any way and was I going to be able to benefit. Both were huge supporters of me and said absolutely."

Before Title IX, female athletes had two choices, play sports through intramural or sororities. With Title IX, Veazey now could choose where she would play.

"I remember talking to my coach, Nadine Gearin, like it was yesterday and immediately Ms. Giles came on the scene," Veazey said. "There was no doubt this is where I wanted to play ball."

Not only was Amy getting the chance to pursue her dream of playing basketball on a collegiate level, she was also able to pursue dreams off the court.

"I wanted to be a teacher a physical education teacher and basketball coach," Veazey said. "So what better way to do that than to be near my parents and family so they could support me and watch me play ball."

And Veazey said she is always grateful for the opportunity she was given.

"We would get a locker or cubbie painted and it was a huge deal," Veazey said. "A uniform with our name and it was a huge step on our journey."

Today, she still reflects on what happened 40 years ago.

"I don't think at the time, at 18, I knew the ramifications of what it meant," Veazey said. "But the older I get I understand it was a milestone in women's athletics. To be a small, small part of it in West Tennessee, at my home college, I'm very proud."


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