March 16, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame women's basketball program is one of 32 winners in the 2009 NCAA Division I "Pack the House" Challenge, it was announced Monday. "Pack the House" is a national effort in which conferences and institutions compete to build attendance. 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 31 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.
And pack the house, they did. Almost two-thirds of the Division I membership -- 184 institutions -- participated in the effort that attracted more than 559,000 fans.
Notre Dame registered the sixth sellout in the program's history, welcoming 11,418 fans to its Dec. 7 game against Purdue at the Joyce Center, marking the first on-campus capacity crowd in the 22-game series between the in-state rivals.
Other schools that produced sellout crowds as part of the "Pack the House" Challenge included: Auburn, Bradley, Central Michigan, Gonzaga, Marist, Memphis, Niagara and Providence. Sixty-three other programs 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."
Winners of the 2008-09 NCAA "Pack the House" Challenge are:
America East - Hartford
Atlantic Coast - Georgia Tech
Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State
Atlantic 10 - Fordham
BIG EAST - NOTRE DAME
Big Sky - Montana State
Big South - UNC Asheville
Big Ten - Illinois
Big 12 - Missouri
Big West - Long Beach State
Colonial - VCU
Conference USA - Marshall
Horizon - Valparaiso
Independents - Cal State Bakersfield
Ivy - Columbia
Metro Atlantic Athletic - Niagara
Mid-American - Central Michigan
Mid-Eastern Athletic - North Carolina A&T
Missouri Valley - Bradley
Mountain West - TCU
Northeast - Mount St. Mary's
Ohio Valley - Tennessee-Martin
Pacific-10 - California
Patriot - Army
Southeastern - Auburn
Southern - Chattanooga
Southland - Sam Houston State
Southwestern Athletic - Jackson State
Summit - IUPUI
Sun Belt - Arkansas-Little Rock
West Coast - Gonzaga
Western Athletic - Louisiana Tech