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Changing the Game: Title IX, Gender,
and College Athletics

by Kelly McFall and Abigail Perkiss

What happens on campus when women athletes realize they're not being treated equally?

This game is set at a fictional university in the mid-1990s. A debate over the role of athletics quickly expands to encompass demands that women’s sports and athletes receive more resources and opportunities. The result is a firestorm of controversy on and off campus. Drawing on congressional testimonies from the Title IX hearings, players advance their views in student government meetings, talk radio shows, town meetings, and impromptu rallies. As students wrestle with questions of gender parity and the place of athletics in higher education, they learn about the implementation—and implications—of legal change in the United States.



Cultural and Social History; Economics and Economic History; Sociology; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Philosophy; US History

Themes and Issues
Class, Gender, Race, Sports and Society,  Higher Education, Equity, Ramifications of legal change

Divided Spaces, Rolling Dice, Differentiated Voting, PIPs leading to auction

20th Century, Modern History, Contemporary History

United States of America

Published Level 5 game (what's that mean?

Player Interactions 

Factional, Competitive, Collaborative

Sample Class Titles
American Law and Liberty; Emergence of Law in Society; US History 1877-present; First Year Seminar

Chaos and Demand on Instructor 
This game is chaotic and moderately demanding on the instructor

Notable Roles

Carrie Peterson, Steve Pena, Johnnie Craig

Using the Game

Class Size and Scalability 
This game is recommended for classes with 10-40+ students. There are generic roles that can be duplicated. 

Class Time  
7-10 sessions are recommended for this game (2 to 3 setup sessions and 4 to 6 game sessions, 1-2 debrief session).

Possible Reacting Game Pairings
This game can be used on its own, or with other games. These pairings are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive or prescriptive. Title IX may pair well with:

You can adjust the assignments based on the desired learning outcomes of your class. This game can include: traditional paper/research/thesis-driven writing, journalism, creative writing, design, criticism, video journalism and broadcasts. Not all roles are required to give formal speeches.


Confirmed instructors who are not yet members can access basic instructor materials. Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading. 


Students need a Gamebook, which includes directions, resources, and historical content. The Title IX Gamebook is published by UNC Press.

 PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-4696-7066-9

EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-4696-7231-1

Published: July 2022

 Available wherever books are sold.

Role Sheets 

Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives. 

.zip file of .pdf files.

Instructor's Manual

The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.  

.pdf file.

.zip file of .pdf files.


Kelly McFall

Kelly McFall is professor of history and chair of the humanities division at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. Since 2013, he has run a popular podcast focusing on new books in genocide studies. In 2014, he won the inaugural Faculty of Distinction award from the Kansas Independent Colleges Association, recognizing his teaching excellence. He is a member of the Reacting to the Past editorial board. McFall is working on two new games, still in development: The Question of Algeria in 1950s France, and Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Major League Baseball.


Abigail Perkiss

Abigail Perkiss is an Associate Professor of History at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, and coordinator of the university’s history/pre-law program. Her teaching and research focus on post-WWII US history, oral history, and public humanities. Perkiss is the author of two books––Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia and Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey’s Forgotten Shore––and is co-author, with Kelly McFall and Rebecca Livingstone, of Monuments and Memory-Making: The Debate over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1981-82, also part of Norton’s Reacting to the Past series.


"My students and I really like this game because it forces them to make difficult choices when trying to achieve “equality” or “equity” in university athletic programs. Again and again students discuss how hard it is to achieve their goals within the rules of the game. Just like any other policy choice, there are difficult tradeoffs that they have to negotiate. Since I teach at a smaller institution with a really strong campus community feel, that makes it even more difficult for them. They want unanimous consensus so badly, but the game won’t allow it. It really makes them work hard on the principles of justice and fairness within the law."

"Excellent game! And useful incorporation of the different 'spaces.' I also like that there are allowances for more than one thing going on at once, which is both realistic and useful in a game context. It also helps to keep a great number of students highly engaged – there are few opportunities for them to just sit and do nothing."

"I think that this game not only teaches students about the difficulties and complexities of implementing an idea of 'equality,' but it also helps them understand the college environment that they themselves are in. It’s a wonderful opportunity to educate students about the institutions that they are in and the ways that they can change things if they want to. It’s a game that is directly applicable to their everyday lives as college students, and that’s fantastic. I think it also engages students in an area that they (probably) already have some significant interest in, and some basic knowledge of as well.."


Members can contact game authors directly

We invite instructors join our Facebook Faculty Lounge, where you'll find a wonderful community eager to help and answer questions. We also encourage you to submit your question for the forthcoming FAQ, and to check out our upcoming events


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