March 14, 2011
(San Francisco) - For the second consecutive year, the University of San Francisco was named one of 33 winners in the NCAA Division I "Pack the House" Challenge, as announced by the NCAA national office. USF was named the West Coast Conference winner for the national-wide contest in which conferences and institutions compete to build attendance at women's basketball games.
NCAA Division I women's basketball marketing staffs selected a home game and designated that date as a "Pack the House" game with the goal of setting an attendance record. One winner from each of the 32 conferences and one from a group of independent institutions were named. Selections were based on marketing plan creativity and attendance criteria. The NCAA will award prizes and donate $500 to the nonprofit organization of each winning institution's choice.
This year, the Dons will donate their prize winnings to the Northern Light School in Oakland. Northern Light School is committed to providing a high quality education for children from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, especially those who would not have the opportunity for a private school education.
"We are thrilled about winning the Pack The House award for the second straight year", said Jennifer Azzi, USF women's basketball head coach. "It gives us an opportunity to support The Northern Light School in Oakland - a non-profit that we support strongly. Thank you to all of the staff at USF who worked very hard to make our Pack The House game a huge success."
San Francisco selected its game against Stanford on December 22, 2010 as the "Pack the House" game. USF welcomed over 3,441 fans to War Memorial Gym, marking the largest attendance at a USF women's basketball game in over a decade. It also marked the third time in a dozen years that over 3,000 fans have enjoyed a home Lady Dons game. The contest also set a record for ticket sales for a women's event at the University.
This season, more than half of the Division I membership - 181 schools - participated in the effort that attracted more than 511,000 fans. Events at Army, Baylor, Duke, Gonzaga, Louisville, Marist, Michigan State, Navy, Oregon and Pacific produced sell-out crowds. Sixty-nine programs, including USF, surpassed their single-game attendance highs from last year.
"We believe this initiative has served as a catalyst to increase attendance, create excitement and enhance exposure for our women's basketball programs," said NCAA Vice President of Division I Women's Basketball Sue Donohoe. "Institution personnel committed a great deal of time, effort and resources to this program and the results were extremely positive. This program provides great `best practices' and examples of success for institutions that are seeking to `grow' women's basketball and these success stories will continue to strengthen efforts in the future."
The ideas to market the games were as diverse as the membership itself.
At San Francisco, for example, utilized community outreach and worked with over 15 community groups from the greater San Francisco neighborhood. A majority of the groups were focused on youth girls basketball and promoting the sport. The groups associated this year included, but were not limited to, the LGBT San Francisco Community Center, Girl Scouts, Girls Inc. of Alameda, Girls on the Run, Girls Ventures, San Francisco Enchantees Girls Basketball, Boys and Girls Club, the US Coast Guard, the Maritime Academy, Travis Air Force Base, ROTC, the Institute on Aging, local CYO (Catholic Youth Organizations), Oakland Parks and Recreation, Northern Light as well as the University of San Francisco community and the university's local neighborhood
ABOUT NORTHERN LIGHT SCHOOL: Northern Light School is committed to providing a high quality education for children from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, especially those who would not have the opportunity for a private school education. The faculty and staff create an atmosphere in which every child can grow academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, to become healthy, productive members of their families and communities. The focus is on excellence in teaching basic academics as well as non-violence, acceptance of differences, respect for the environment, and the moral advancement of humanity--so that the children develop an understanding that they have a responsibility to make a difference in the lives of others.
Winners of the 2010-11 NCAA "Pack the House" Challenge are:
America East - Binghamton University
Atlantic Coast - Duke
Atlantic Sun - Florida Gulf Coast
Atlantic 10 - Rhode Island
Big East - Louisville
Big Sky -Sacramento State
Big South - Gardner-Webb
Big Ten - Michigan State
Big 12 - Kansas State
Big West - Pacific
Colonial - Old Dominion
Conference USA - Houston
Great West - Utah Valley
Horizon - Green Bay
Ivy - Pennsylvania
Metro Atlantic - Marist
Mid-American - Central Michigan
Mid-Eastern - South Carolina State
Missouri Valley - Wichita State
Mountain West - Air Force
Northeast - Central Connecticut State
Ohio Valley - Eastern Illinois
Pacific-10 - Oregon
Patriot - Army
Southeastern - Auburn
Southern - Samford
Southland - Texas State
SWAC - Jackson State
Summit - Oral Roberts
Sun Belt - Western Kentucky
West Coast - San Francisco
WAC - Louisiana Tech
Independents - Longwood
Marist - Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Courtesy of USF Sports Information