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 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


— ND —