UCSB One Of 18 Institutions and Conferences to Receive Grant to Promote Increased Women's Basketball Attendance

June 16, 2009

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INDIANAPOLIS - UC Santa Barbara was one of 18 institutions or conferences which was selected by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to receive a women's basketball 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.

UCSB will use the grant to institute a marketing initiative that will increase attendance at women's basketball games over the next five years. Three target audiences - families in the community, female leaders in the community and UCSB students - will be the focus of gaining larger attendance figures. UCSB will also hold a season ticket campaign engaging families in various programs as well as beginning Thunder R.O.W. (Raising Outstanding Women), a mentoring program for community youth. UCSB students will be targeted with an affinity program and a Greek competition.

"We are very pleased to have received grant money from the NCAA to help us promote our women's basketball program," said Executive Associate Athletics Director Diane O'Brien, who was instrumental in helping UCSB attain the grant. "Now we'll be able to do some of the things we've always wanted to do to increase attendance and awareness. It's great that the NCAA offers assistance to schools for a focused effort to advance women's basketball. We're excited to be a part of it."

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 women's basketball marketing consultant firm, Hawkeye Sports and Entertainment, 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 UCSB 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 Hartford; University of Kansas; 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.

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