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Number Of Female Athletes At An All Time High

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

In 2012, almost 200,000 female college athletes will play for 9,274 NCAA teams, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. In addition, a recent report, "Women in Intercollegiate Sport: A Longitudinal, National Study," found that there has been a sharp increase in women working in college sports over the last 35 years. There are nearly 4,000 female NCAA coaches, and the amount of female administrators and athletic directors is also steadily rising.

Over the past few years, Boston College has added several upper-level women in administration, such as Carly Pasineau, the new associate athletic director for compliance and director of recreation. The increasing opportunity for women to enter the typically male-dominated world of college sports is remarkable, considering the recent budget constraints that plague institutions across the nation. This limitation has not shown any decline in the overall participation of female college athletes.

Forty years after the passage of general legislation to prevent gender discrimination in college sports, the interest in college athletics for females continues to increase. Women are not only given the opportunity to participate in sports, but are encouraged to do so now more than ever.

"The ability to be part of a team and compete helps women to be successful in all areas," said Jody Mooradian, senior associate athletic director. "Studies have shown that females who were part of a team do better in their future careers."

Female college athletes across the nation are breaking the outdated belief that women do not belong in the gym or on the field. They are empowered by their ability to play and the love of their sport. Being a female NCAA athlete allows one to translate her assertiveness and sense of self-strength from the field to the classroom, allowing personal growth from past experiences.

Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport for women, with about 40 percent of colleges fielding a team this season. Women's soccer, rowing, and cross country are also seeing increases in participation. About 200 new teams were added between 2010 and 2012. Although there has been a rise in the amount of overall teams, teams with high percentages of minority female athletes have been sacrificed due to recent budget restraints. Women's basketball and track and field saw declines last year. Basketball, the most popular women's sport, lost several teams last year, including 50 female student-athlete opportunities across the NCAA. Following this unfortunate trend, 12 female track programs were also cut.

At BC, there are 16 women's sports teams, all of which perform well within their competitive divisions. The move to the ACC was a positive step for female sports in particular, as the level of competition was increased in sports such as women's soccer, field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. This year, 135 female athletic scholarships were awarded.

"As a department, we try to treat every sport equitably and encourage the growth of all our student-athletes," Mooradian said. "We have many sports that are combined, with swimming, sailing, and skiing. The level for success has been really high with our female teams the past few years. Women's soccer was in the final four a year ago and lacrosse and cross country were in the NCAAs."

Although the University does not plan to add any more teams in the near future, the department is constantly trying to enhance and improve all programs, both male and female

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