Kansas Receives NCAA Grant To Promote Increased Women's Basketball Attendance

June 16, 2009


The University of Kansas has received a $60,000 grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to promote women’s basketball during the 2009-10 season.

KU is one of only 18 institutions or conferences to receive a grant as part of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Grant Program, which is in its second year. The 2009-10 NCAA grant program dedicated approximately $750,000 nationally to increase awareness, exposure and increase attendance of women’s basketball.

With its grant, Kansas Athletics will implement a program entitled “Schools for Success.” Through partnerships with community schools, Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Jason’s Deli, Kansas Athletics’ overall goal is to enhance attendance at and promote awareness of Kansas Women’s Basketball home games.

“Schools for Success” includes a season-long attendance challenge, as well as a “School Day” in which Kansas Athletics invites local students to spend a day with the Jayhawks. The event includes educational programming provided by Kansas Athletics staff and student-athletes, Lawrence Memorial Hospital Staff, a KU women’s basketball game, lunch courtesy of Jason’s Deli, exciting half-time entertainment and a t-shirt to commemorate the occasion. A similar event last season drew a raucous crowd of 5,186 fans to Allen Fieldhouse to witness the Jayhawks’ 76-55 victory over Iowa, televised live on ESPN. At the end of the season the women drew a Big 12-record 16,113 fans to Allen for the championship game of the WNIT.

A total of 75 member schools and conferences submitted proposals in the second year of the pilot program. National office staff and representatives from the NCAA’s women’s basketball marketing consultant firm evaluated the proposals.

“We are pleased with the success of many of last year’s grant recipients and are excited to see what these new recipients are able to achieve with this assistance,” said NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Vice President Sue Donohoe. “When resources are allocated and efforts are focused to promote women’s basketball, it can provide a meaningful return on the investment.”

Joining Kansas as 2009-10 grant recipients are Auburn University; Big South Conference; Cornell University; East Tennessee State University; Eastern Michigan University; Iowa State University; Patriot League; San Diego State University, University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Riverside; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Hartford; University of Miami (Florida); University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of South Carolina, Columbia; West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference.

The first year of the grant program went very well and we are anticipating more success in year two,” said Donohoe. “The membership has had a tremendous interest in securing grant resources to advance women’s basketball. It is important that we continue to work to grow women’s basketball from the inside out and at the grass roots level.”

2008-09 grant recipient success stories included Texas Tech University which doubled its student attendance for women’s basketball home games; Florida State University increased season ticket sales by 63 percent, with a 55% increase in overall attendance for women’s basketball; East Tennessee State University increased its average attendance by 231% and several grant recipients set record single game attendance marks.

The program will be evaluated following its second year to determine if the objectives are being met. Grants are awarded on a one-year basis and are not automatically renewed. East Tennessee State University, Patriot League and San Diego State University received a grant for the second straight year.

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