The crew was officially established as a student club in 1969 by Craig Benepe. The UNC Crew Club did not take possession of its first two shells until February 1970. The first actual rowing by club members took place in 1970.
Female university students formed a women’s club in 1973. Since the men’s and women’s clubs shared the same equipment and traveled to the same regattas, the two clubs were merged in 1989 for administrative purposes. In 1993, a Masters rowing program was created to foster a connection between undergraduate club members, other rowers within the larger university community and Chapel Hill residents. The Athletic Department elevated the women’s program to varsity status in 1997.
The short answer is no. The Men’s Crew Club program is supported by Campus Recreation through student fees. Campus Recreation supports 51 organizations from a budget of $125,000. The Women’s Varsity program is supported through the Athletic Department. UNC Athletics (28 sports) reported their fiscal year 2017-2018 budget to the NCAA of total operating revenue of $104.6M against total operating expenses of $102.4M.
Campus Recreation Objectives
In the first few years of the team’s existence, there was no boathouse – the team placed its boats on structures that were open to the elements. Sometime during the 1970s a pole building was erected that had a roof but no walls. Eventually walls were added thus making the actual single-bay building more secure. At some point during the 1980s the Sailing Club moved into the space as well. By 1990, the Sailing Club moved their equipment to a more conducive location.
As pressure to add space increased, the North Bay was added during the 1992-1993 season, thus doubling square footage. The South Bay was added in 1995. When Hurricane Fran hit Chapel Hill in September 1996, three towering pines fell through the roof of the Main Bay destroying the two original boats purchased in 1969-1970. Luckily, of the two dozen boats (all classes) contained within the building, no other boats were damaged. The boathouse has remained largely unchanged since.
The University is providing resources and professional personnel to support our fundraising efforts. It is only through the University’s support of this plan that we believe we can be successful. To date, all funds for the development of the University Lake boathouse plans have been paid by UNC Campus Recreation.
Below are websites that include links to the conceptual drawings for the proposed University Lake boathouse, as well as a link to make a gift to the boathouse project:
There are three main avenues for making financial contributions to the Women’s Team.
If you would like to learn more, please reach out to the current coaches:
The answer has to do with the intersection and history of men’s rowing in the United States, the governance of women’s rowing (NCAA), university presidents and athletic directors, and federal regulations (Title IX).