by Max Brantley
Yesterday, we posted the first in a NY Times series on the rising dominance of women in the nation's colleges -- both in enrollment and performance. Our headline joked: Yeah, but can they play football?
Today's installment in the series (bad link fixed) says a number of small colleges are adding football as a way to close the gender gap by enrolling more male students.
"When you recruit a halfback, you get a few of his male friends, maybe his sister and his sister's boyfriend, too," said JoAnne Boyle, president of Seton Hill University. A 123-year-old former women's institution in Greensburg, Pa., Seton Hill added football last year.
"I could have started a spiffy new major of study, spent a lot of money on lab equipment and hired a few new high-powered professors," Dr. Boyle said. "I might have gotten 25 more students for that. And I couldn't have counted on that major still being popular in 15 years.
"Instead, I started a football team, brought in hundreds of paying students, added a vibrant piece to our campus life and broadened our recognition factor. And in the long history of American higher education, one thing you can count on is football's longevity. Football is here to stay."