As the dominant women’s college soccer team with 15 national titles, North Carolina’s average attendance last year of 3,046 was the largest in the country. Crowds of this size used to be reserved for games of paramount importance or for heated rivalries. But in the Tar Heels’ first game of the season, 4,655 attended at home against Tennessee, a rather weak opponent with no soccer history, to watch the Tar Heels’ easy 3-0 victory over the Lady Vols.
The American success in the Women’s World Cup has given additional incentives for colleges and universities to pour money into women’s programs. Seeking balance in collegiate sports programs, it appears that women’s soccer may benefit the most in the battle for gender equity. However, the state of women’s collegiate athletics programs over all remains dire. According to the May 1999 report of the Chronicle of Higher Education, the total number of women who participate in college sports yearly is 142,000; 204,000 men compete yearly. Yet spending is not comparable. In Division I alone, $629 million is spent on collegiate women’s programs per year, significantly less than the $1.4 billion spent on men’s programs.
Media Resources: New York Times - September 17, 1999