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UNT earns kudos for gender equity


UNT earns kudos for gender equity

Article form the Denton Record-Chronicle

June 10, 2009
By Brett Vito / Staff Writer

When Rick Villarreal took over as North Texas athletic director in 2001, one of his first goals was to put his women’s teams in position to succeed.

Rick Villarreal The latest indication UNT has reached that goal came Tuesday when the school ranked No. 1 on Penn State York’s annual Gender Equity Score-card for the second consecutive year.

The report rates the nation’s 115 Football Bowl Subdivision schools on the basis of the participation, scholarships, operating expenses, recruiting budgets, and coaches’ salaries. UNT was the only school to receive an A+.

“What it points out is that the steps we have taken to build our women’s program have put us at the top level and we have been able to sustain that level,” Villarreal said. “As an athletic director, you have a responsibility to every athlete on campus to help them be successful. It shows that we are doing what we should be doing.”

UNT opened the Waranch Tennis Complex, the Mean Green Soccer Field and Lovelace Stadium, the school’s on-campus softball field, all within the last few years.

The Waranch Tennis Center, a $3 million facility, hosted the Sun Belt Conference tennis tournament in 2007 and this season. UNT also hosted the Sun Belt softball tournament this spring.

Villarreal said the benefit of the support UNT has given its women’s athletic programs has been evident over the last several years.

The UNT soccer team ranked among the top 10 percent of soccer teams nationally on the NCAA’s latest Academic Progress Rate report that measures a team’s ability to keep its athletes in school and eligible.

UNT’s tennis team reached the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament this spring, while the soccer team finished 15-4-1 with wins over Oklahoma and Baylor in the fall. The UNT swimming team broke 14 school records last season.

“If you look at swimming and soccer, they are among the best teams in the country academically and in their sports,” Villarreal said. “When you give your teams the right facilities and the right leadership with coaches, assistant coaches, academic advisors and trainers, they are going to excel.”

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