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For Maria Bulanova, this is a surprise – she could be recruited to the bowling team in Vanderbilt “all the way from Russia”.

Like other international athletes who play college sports in the United States, she had little understanding of Title IX as a child. But federal law has opened the door for thousands of women athletes from abroad to receive an American education and gain life and careers in the United States.

“People were amazed that Vanderbilt was able to recruit me from Russia in all possible ways,” Bulanova said. “They said, ‘Oh, wow. Their appointment was really different.’ Like, ‘Wow. From there they looked at you.

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Bulanova is looking to bowl in Europe after completing his final year of school in Russia. In November 2015, she represented Russia at the World Cup in Las Vegas and bowled well enough that many American colleges wanted her to visit. She visited five colleges in February 2016 a week before choosing Vanderbilt.

“Education really made them stand out. And I’m looking for a good bowling program where I’m going to win something, we’ve going to be competing for the national championship. So Vanderbilt two, and it’s perfect,” said Bulanova, who graduated in 2020 and is now in her second year Competing on the tour with the Professional Women’s Bowling Association. She also holds a master’s degree in St. Francis, New York, where she is an assistant coach.

Bulanova helped Vanderbilt win its second national championship in women’s bowling in 2018. There are also two other international players: Christine Kwah of Singapore and Emily Rigney of Australia.

Coach John Williamson started the Vanderbilt bowling program in 2004, built the club team and won two national championships as well as three national runner-up finishes.

Title IX opens the door for thousands of women athletes from abroad to study in the US.

Title IX opens the door for thousands of women athletes from abroad to study in the US.
(AP Photo / Hans Pennink)

“From Title IX’s point of view, I think it’s a success story because we’ve been able to bring children from all over the world, all over the world, to Vanderbilt, or even to Vanderbilt, so that they can get a world-class education,” Williamson said.

“They compete at a really high level. And they can do their sports. They can get their education. They get the best of everything.”

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Kwah was the first of three to play for Vanderbilt after she arrived at the university via email while playing for the Singapore junior national team. Williamson and an assistant went to the World Youth Championships in Hong Kong and saw Kula bowling with Bulanova and Rigny. Kwah’s first year in Vanderbilt was 2015. Bulanova and Rigny started the following year.

“So basically, Christine sent us an email, expressing her interest, we talked to her, it took us to Hong Kong, it made us find Maria,” Williamson said.

Bulanova and Kwah received scholarships by direct route, but this was a more expensive process for others.

There are many agencies that assist foreign athletes by introducing them to coaches and universities, as well as assisting them through the bureaucratic process once they are approved.

Deljan Bregasi founded one such agency. Originally from Albania, Bregazi grew up in Italy before studying soccer scholarships in Miami and New York.

Bregasi founded USA College Sport in Boston in 2015 and said he had helped raise nearly $ 3,200 for agency services and scholarships for nearly 300 athletes.

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The agency initially focused on helping boys in Italy and Albania get soccer scholarships in the United States before expanding to other sports and female athletes in 2018.

Maria Bulanova is a person who has been positively influenced by Title IX.

Maria Bulanova is a person who has been positively influenced by Title IX.
(AP Photo / Hans Pennink)

“Girls are the ones who are most likely in a certain sense, because title IX is, fortunately I would add, allowing them to practice sports with a scholarship, and it’s a pity a girl who plays sports in Italy. No,” Bregasi said.

“One of our goals right now is to focus better on women athletes, because it’s so easy for women soccer to thrive when the level of volleyball and athletics in Italy is so high, so it’s worth helping us. Women athletes have a better chance of getting a scholarship because they have title IX.” Said Bregasi.

Serena Froley, a 17 – year – old middle distance runner from Genoa, Italy, used her time for research colleges during the pandemic lockdown and eventually spoke to coaches before deciding to use American agency services.

“I have to say it’s very expensive, but if you look at the scholarship I got, you can tell it’s recouping the initial costs,” Frowley said. “But they will also help you all the time you’ve been to university … so I liked it too. And knowing that our mom would be more calm. She told me ‘let’s do that’.”

Froley is heading northwest in August to study mechanical engineering on the track scholarship. She knew she would be given more opportunities than she had in Italy.

She has long dreamed of being an astronaut and a medal-winning athlete. The benefits of Title IX allow her to pursue double aspirations.

“Why should I choose?” Said Froley. “That’s why I’m going to the United States.”

Similarly, Alain Crouter and Tze-Hahn (Heather) Lynn left their home countries to play college golf in the US, making most of the opportunities possible through Title IX.

An excellent junior player from Stuttgart, Germany, Crouter had no opportunity to play collectively in Europe, so she moved to Florida and spent three years in Saddlebrook Prep in Wesley Chapel. She played four seasons at Stanford, winning the national team championship as a senior last month.

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Tze-Han is a top junior player in Taiwan who was recruited by then-first-year Oregon coach Derek Rodley. She was a mainstay on the team that added two more Taiwanese players and finished second at the National Championships this year.

“Having the same number of scholarships for men and women has allowed me to play golf and get a full scholarship,” said Tje-Han, who finished fifth in the NCAA Individual Championships. “I do not think I can get it anywhere else in the world.”