Wednesday, Aug. 31 will go down as one of the most impactful days in the history of not just women's sports, but sports as a whole. What happened in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Wednesday was a much-needed step in embracing women’s sports.
ESPN reported that 91,648 fans bought tickets to see Nebraska volleyball play a regular season match against Omaha. The number broke the record for attendance at any women’s sporting event, previously held by a Champions League soccer match between FC Barcelona and Wolfsburg in 2022.
The day of the game was dubbed “Volleyball Day in Nebraska.”
The previous attendance record for a regular season NCAA volleyball match was only 16,833 in Wisconsin. Nebraska absolutely shattered this number.
Every seat within Memorial Stadium, home of Nebraska's football team, was filled Wednesday. Tickets could also be bought on the field. Per an NCAA representative, the game had the highest attendance for any non-football college sport ever.
University of Nebraska students were given the day off so they could support the school’s most successful program, women's volleyball.
In response to the event, Head Coach John Cook said the only things that could close down the university were:“One, snowstorms. Two, COVID. Three, Nebraska volleyball in the stadium."
Within the sports world, men’s sports receive more attention, support and funding than any women’s sport, no matter how successful, dominant or exciting the women’s team may be. The fact that Nebraska shut down the entire university in order to place a spotlight on female athletes is nothing short of remarkable.
Women's sports have long been lacking the support and attention they deserve, and Nebraska just took a huge step in marketing female athletes with just as much effort as male athletes. This weekend, the Nebraska men's football team will play its first game of the season, which won’t garner as many fans or as much attention as the game on Wednesday.
The Nebraska women’s volleyball team is a five-time national champion and has won more than any men's program since 2015. It’s time that the NCAA embraces its female athletes and provides financial support to the programs within a university equally.
If a women's volleyball match can garner over 90,000 fans in attendance, then they should be funded the same way that the men's football or men’s basketball team is funded.
Female athletes do not lack skill or entertainment value, they lack funding and support from those in power within the sports world.
Robert Keegan is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the opinions expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Robert about his column? Tweet him @robert_keegan.