Columbia Receives NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Grant
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics

INDIANAPOLIS -- Columbia University has been selected by the NCAA as one of 12 institutions and two conferences to receive a women's basketball grant for the 2010-11 season as part of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Grant Program to increase awareness, exposure and attendance.

This marks the third-straight year an Ivy League institution has been awarded the grant and the second time for Columbia. The Lions were one of the inaugural 17 recipients for the 2008-09 season and Cornell was one of 18 to receive the grant last season. Hartford (2009-10) and the West Coast Conference (2009-10) are being awarded grants for the second time as well.

"We are thrilled that the NCAA has awarded Columbia the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball grant for the second time in three years," Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education, Dr. M. Dianne Murphy says. "Our women's basketball program has made great strides over the past two years in increasing attendance and awareness of the program. This grant will allow us to continue our efforts and extend our outreach to the campus community to create the best women's basketball home crowd in the Ivy League."

A total of 88 member schools and conferences submitted proposals in the third year of the pilot program. National office staff served as evaluators of the proposals. Grants are awarded on a one-year basis and are not automatically renewed.

“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,” said NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Vice President Sue Donohoe. “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.”

The 2010-11 grant recipients are:

Atlantic Sun Conference
Bowling Green State University
Columbia University
University of Dayton
University of Florida
University of Hartford
Kansas State University
Miami University (Ohio)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Stanford University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
West Virginia University
Xavier University
West Coast Conference

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 posted an increase in home attendance of 86.8 percent, while East Tennessee State increased its average attendance by 77.7 percent. Several 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, Donohoe said.

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.