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WOMEN GAINING IN COLLEGE SPORTS

Women's basketball teams outnumbered men's basketball teams, and women's soccer was the fastest-growing collegiate sport in 1997-98, according to a report released Monday by the NCAA.

It said overall student participation in women's sports in 1997-98 rose 3.5 percent over the previous season to 135,110. Participation in men's sports jumped only 0.24 percent to 203,696.

There were 724 women's soccer teams playing at NCAA colleges in 1997-98, 30 more than the previous season. Football had the largest number of participants among college sports in 1997-98, with 54,793 -- a slight decline from the 54,954 in 1996-97. Women's basketball had the most teams, with 956, followed by men's basketball with 938.

Tennis was the sport showing the greatest decline, with fewer teams for both men and women. The total number of students participating dropped from 16,230 to 15,741.

Also showing declines in number of teams were men's rifle, basketball, volleyball and baseball.

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