Nearly 200,000 female athletes will suit up this year on 9,274 NCAA teams. That's an average of 8.7 women's teams per college—the highest number ever, according to a report to be released on Monday.
Although some sports have seen a decline in participation—including ones with high numbers of minority athletes—the overall numbers have grown markedly during the past two years. That is remarkable, considering the budget constraints many institutions have faced, say the report's authors, R. Vivian Acosta and Linda Jean Carpenter, professors emerita of Brooklyn College. They've been studying women's sports since the enactment of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
"This gives credence to the good will and understanding that if athletics belongs on campus, it belongs there because it has some connection to the educational mission—and if so, those opportunities should be open to both men and women," Ms. Carpenter said in an interview.