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UF to add women's soccer

The University of Florida Athletic Association Board of Directors, acting on a recommendation from President John Lombardi, approved the addition of women's soccer Friday, pending further study and approvals.

Florida's Intercollegiate Athletic Committee and Title IX Committee will review the decision before approval is granted.

A timetable for the inaugural season will be part of the committees' discussions. Florida would offer 11 scholarships for soccer _ the maximum allowed by the NCAA.

The addition of women's soccer would move Florida one step closer to compliance with the recently passed Southeastern Conference Gender Equity Statement. The 12 SEC schools agreed to provide at least two more women's programs than men's programs by 1995.

The addition of soccer would bring the number of women's sports offered by Florida to 10 with the men remaining at nine.

Four SEC schools will compete in women's soccer in the fall: Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The SEC will offer a soccer championship by 1993 or 1994. Two Division I Florida schools offer women's soccer: Central Florida and Florida International.

Soccer is the ninth most popular sport among Division I programs, with 103 schools offering the sport. The NCAA has sponsored a national championship for women's soccer since the 1982 season.

In Florida, 225 high schools offered the sport during the 1991-92 season.