June 23, 2010

NCAA Release

INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA is awarding women’s basketball grants to 12 Division I schools and two conferences as part of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Grant Program to increase awareness, exposure and attendance of women’s basketball.

A total of 88 member schools and conferences submitted proposals in the third year of the pilot program. 

“What we have learned during the first two years of the program is that marketing focused on ticket sales rather than just attendance and programs that focus on a single concept stand out.  They have proven to be more successful in terms of overall attendance, achievement of specific program goals, the ability to bring in new fans and long-term sustainability,” said NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Vice President Sue Donohoe.

National office staff served as evaluators of the proposals. Grants are awarded on a one-year basis and are not automatically renewed.

The 2010-11 grant recipients are the Atlantic Sun Conference, Bowling Green State University; Columbia University; University of Dayton; University of Hartford; Kansas State University; Miami University; Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; Stanford University; University of Florida; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; West Virginia University; Xavier University and the West Coast Conference.

Hartford (2009-10), Columbia (2008-09) and the West Coast Conference (2009-10) are being awarded grants for the second time.

For 2009-10, 10 of the 18 grant recipients increased their home game attendance averages, with grantee attendance up 7.5 percent overall.  Eastern Michigan University posted an increase in home attendance of 86.8 percent, while East Tennessee State University increased its average attendance by 77.7 percent. Several of the grant recipients established single-game record attendance marks.

“We are proud that after the first two years of the program, 12 of our previous grant recipients are on track to achieve a 50 percent increase in attendance over a five-year period,” said Donohoe.

The NCAA will continue to look for ways to provide marketing and guidance to schools and conferences to help promote women’s basketball, she added.

This marketing initiative concept was generated from the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Discussion Group, chaired by the late NCAA President Myles Brand. The group consisted of head coaches, media representatives, former student-athletes, conference, institutional and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association administrators. It has been strongly supported by the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Issues Committee.

About the NCAA and Division I Women’s Basketball

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.

NCAA women’s basketball is characterized by strong fundamentals, high quality of play, sportsmanship, role model student-athletes and family oriented entertainment. The latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate figures show 83 percent of NCAA Division I women’s basketball players graduate. In terms of the NCAA Academic Progress Rate, which measures term-by-term academic success, the overall score is 966, well above the NCAA benchmark of 925.

For the latest news in regard to the Women’s Final Four, visit www.ncaa.com/finalfour.