FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas will receive a $25,000 grant from the NCAA to help promote growth in women’s basketball attendance for the Lady Razorbacks, Division I Women’s Basketball Vice President Sue Donohoe announced this week.
The Lady Razorbacks were one of only 17 programs to receive a grant from the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Grant Program.
“We want to grow the game of women’s basketball at the grass roots level,” Donohoe said. “We hope these grants will give schools and conferences the extra resources they need to enhance their women’s basketball program.”
Associate Athletic Director Chris Pohl submitted the proposal, which included a study of current Lady Razorback fans and increased exposure initiatives for the women’s basketball program as a part of the grant package.
“We are thrilled to receive the additional funding, but also very excited that the University of Arkansas was chosen as one of the inaugural recipients of a grant from this program,” Pohl said.
The grant will likely allow the Arkansas Athletic Department to enhance the current Sweat Hawg youth program to more elementary schools and the the Boys and Girls Club. The Sweat Hawg program is targeted at elementary school students in third through fifth grades to encourage physical activity and fitness.
Arkansas will likely receive approval to use a portion of the grant to create a new billboard campaign for Lady’Back basketball across the northwest Arkansas region and to conduct a survey of current and potential fans.
“This will have a great impact on our team next year,” UA women’s basketball coach Tom Collen said. “I think it shows how much the NCAA values women’s basketball, and it is a reflection of the hard work that our Lady’Back marketing staff put into the proposal that we were selected.”
More than 70 member institutions and conferences submitted proposals, which were reviewed by the NCAA staff and representatives from the NCAA’s women’s basketball marketing consultant.
Arkansas was the only Southeastern Conference member to receive a grant, and one of 12 institutions. The other institutions were Arizona State, Columbia, East Tennessee State, Florida State, Louisville, Maryland, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Texas Tech, Washington and Western Kentucky. The conferences receiving grants were the Big Ten, Conference USA, Metro Atlantic, Northeast and Patriot League.
The competition for the grants was very intense as institutions and conferences came up with original ideas for promoting women’s basketball.
“We’re very pleased to be awarding this grant to the University of Arkansas. We’re excited for the Lady Razorbacks and can’t wait to see the results,” said Donohoe.
The three-year program to enhance women’s basketball attendance nationwide gave out approximately $750,000 in its inaugural year.