A Seattle newspaper investigation shows there's apparently been a LOT of women who competed on the University of Washington's crew (rowing) team since 2011, but the woman themselves didn't know they did. What?!?

In one of the more bizarre, and potentially embarrassing situations in women's collegiate sports, the school appears to have inflated the numbers of female athletes to satisfy Title IX (9) federal requirements. They reportedly did so by listing women who never participated in a single practice or race, or were even on the team.

Title 9 went into effect in 1972, requiring basically equal sports opportunities for women in college. But to remain compliant, schools have to submit participation levels by way of a federal mandate. They have to meet minimum numbers of female athletes or they will be in violation of Title 9.

The Seattle Times launched an investigation after a report found a suspiciously high number of women were part of the world-class UW women's crew, or rowing program.

The NCAA average for women's rowing and crew rosters is 64. Based upon federal reporting figures. UW told the feds they had 145. According to the Times, UW has submitted very high figures since 2011.

It is believed the school included the names of students who may have inquired about trying out for the highly competitive program, or attended an informational meeting, on their lists given to the government.

One woman, Clarice Kim, was a sprint kayaker in high school, but decided after the meeting she would not be able to transition to crew. Trinell Carpenter, another potential candidate, quickly saw that due to her class loads and lack of height, she wouldn't fit  the sport.

However, both women's names were on the 2013 list submitted by UW to the federal government. Numerous other woman told the Times they never attended a practice or set foot in a boat, but their names were on the list. Many of them had inquired about the program but that was it.

Why would the school do this?  According to the Times report, UW has apparently been lagging behind in meeting it's Title 9 participation levels, and supposedly boosted the crew numbers so they would stay compliant.

The Times says investigations have shown similar incidents occurred at the University of Iowa, which also reported unusually high numbers on it's crew team.

Attorney Tom Newkirk, who filed a lawsuit over the Iowa issue, says UW's inflation of female athlete numbers is an "offensive and flagrant violation" of Title 9 rules, according to the Times.

Some school have added sports such as beach volleyball to ensure more women athletes are on scholarship and they will remain Title 9 compliant.