Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When the Pac-12 is less than a dozen

Although the conference is called the Pac-12, women’s volleyball is one of very few sports with twelve participating teams. It’s another rarely-mentioned but cumulatively important reason why mainstream media’s continued neglect of the sport is increasingly hard to justify.
The Pac-12 sponsors 22 sports, but only eight—women’s volleyball, men’s football, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, women’s cross-country, women’s track & field and men’s golf—field teams from all twelve conference schools.
Thirty years ago, more NCAA schools field women’s and men’s basketball teams than any other sport. That’s still true today, but hoops has a neighbor in its rear-view mirror: volleyball.
source: NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report
In fact, volleyball is one of those objects in the rear-view mirror that may be closer than you think. Volleyball’s average attendance per match has risen at Division 1 schools at a rate faster than women’s basketball. At the University of Washington, volleyball’s average attendance per contest has out-performed women’s basketball for most of the past decade.

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