NCAA Selects 30 Schools for Mentorship Program to Grow Women’s Basketball

Last month, the NCAA invited Division I members to apply to participate in the Women’s Basketball Advancement Program, a pilot initiative that matches schools with professional marketing experts for mentorship and assistance in increasing attendance and improving the overall fan experience.

The NCAA selected 30 schools to participate in year one of the two-year program including Florida State University, Baylor and Ohio State (see full list below). Each school will work with an adviser for the upcoming season with the possibility of continuing in the following season.  Based on first-year results, the NCAA may expand the program next year.

Schools Selected to Participate in the Women’s Basketball Advancement Program (listed alphabetically)

Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Boise State, Colorado, Dayton, Drake, Florida State, Georgetown, Liberty, Marquette, Miami, NC State, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, Purdue, San Francisco, Southern Illinois, UAB, UCLA, UMass- Lowell, UMKC, USF, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Western Kentucky and Winthrop

More than 80 schools applied for the program illustrating the interest among schools.  NCAA Director of Championships and Alliances Tracie Hitz says there are lots people who are passionate about growing the game and could use additional tools and resources. “We have been working to figure out what can we do and how can we help,” Hitz, who is also the program administrator, said. “I am really excited about it, and I am going to share a ton [of tips and lessons learned] so any school that was not selected this year can reap benefits too.”

The program’s initial group of advisers will work with schools to help them evaluate their current marketing programs including social media, ticket sales, advertising and promotions.  They then will assist them in making program improvements. The group includes:

  • Angela Taylor, Founder and CEO of AFT22 Enterprises
  • Tori Alston, Founder of The Front Office Daily
  • Jane Albright, who retired earlier this year after coaching women’s basketball for 40 years
  • Kurt Esser, Athletic Director at Seminole State
  • Heather Collart, a consultant with experience working with the Detroit Pistons and Pepperdine University.

The opportunity for schools to have outside guidance and direction during the season could be a difference maker to growing the awareness and branding of women’s basketball nationally. I am excited to see how schools will respond to the program and the impact overall.

— Mary Pink, Associate Athletics Director for Marketing at Iowa State University and member of the advancement committee responsible for developing the program

The Advancement Program is overseen by a 12-person committee that includes a members both inside and outside of college sports.  It includes  Carol Callan, Women’s National Team Director for USA Basketball, Tricia Cullop, Head Coach at Toledo, Kelly Krauskopf President and GM of the Indiana Fever and Kristen Confroy, a senior guard who plays for the University of Maryland.  It is chaired by Bill Chaves, Director of Athletics at Eastern Washington University.