College Sports and the Equity Divide

By Nick Agostinelli

Brockport Beat Facebook Manager

To be fair and impartial. That is what equity is supposed to stand for. Equal standing for everyone. Although, there are many who believe this to be true in the present day, there are still serious problems that are preventing this from becoming a reality.

The heart of the matter is that gender equality has always been at the top of the list of prevailing problems faced by society.

Luis Recio, a current junior at SUNY Brockport and former member of the football program, believes that there needs to be equal pay to fill this equity gap between male and female coaches.

“Increasing the pay for female assistant coaches will close the gap between the gender disparity,” says Recio. “This would encourage women to get into coaching because they would be getting paid equal as men.”

The average assistant salary for men’s teams was $11,015 compared to just $5,099 which shows the kind of economic disparity that frustrates many.

Shaylee Picow, a junior at SUNY Brockport feels disappointed in these numbers. She wishes there more opportunity for her and women like her.

“I feel like this means women’s sports aren’t taken as seriously and women may not want to be on the sports teams because of this, as well as because they may not be considered athletes as much as men are looked at,” says Picow. “To make this be a more equal number, I feel like Brockport should talk about women’s sports more and make them feel like they are athletes and just as important as the men.”

Even though the point can be made that many strides have been made, which they have, there are still prominent roles in society that women have been blocked from being in because of social biases.

Sports and athletics in general have always been dominated by male figures. Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle, Joe Greene, Tom Brady as well as many others.

Not until the recent triumphs of the U.S. Women’s National soccer teams have truly been given the spotlight they have been working just as hard as their male counterparts for at a national level.

Organized athletics is an area in which there are still many strides to take before true equality is found, both on a player and coach basis.

In professional sports like the soccer industry, women like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have fought for equal pay that compares to that of the men’s team. Rapinoe and the U.S. squad have sued their federation over this issue.

For college athletes, they obviously don’t get paid, but they have plenty of say in choosing where they want to go school and how they can earn scholarships to help pay for that school.

At a college like SUNY Brockport, when looking at data from the athletics program, which dates back to the 2016 academic year, there is a large disparity between male and female sport’s teams.

As a school at the Division III level, SUNY Brockport treats their athletic programs with more of a focus for student-athletes to have time outside of sports, such as being involved with internships and studying abroad.

While Division III schools don’t provide scholarships, according to USA Today, these schools do provide what is called “merit-based scholarships.” to go further, these, “Merit-based scholarships are, for example, are awarded to student-athletes for their excellence in academics or leadership.” (Jason Smith, 2017).

According to official Brockport data, in 2016, there were total recruiting expenses spent on athletes by staff, which “..includes but it not limited to, expenses for lodging, meals, telephone use and transportation for recruits and personnel engaged in recruiting..”

This adds up for the men’s teams to be $44,486 compared to just $28,350 for women’s teams. This could be life-changing money and most of it is going to one side.

The Athletic Director of Brockport, Erick Hart declined to take a stand on what the statistics mean.

“Every year we have to report these numbers. Every school does. Look up Equity and Disclosure Act,” says Hart. “ You can look at every school. We use this to compare our numbers to other programs.”

The Equity and Disclosure Act is a federal law that was passed in 1994 to make available gender equity information about their programs. The information is consistent in that it shows that more money is spent on men’s sports.

For SUNY Brockport alone, the total amount of expenses for all sports is $2,041,386 and only $844,090 is attributed to female sports.

Colleges taking action to promote their female sports better and to put more money into them, thus changing these figures would go a long way in creating a more equal athletic environment for women compared to men.

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