By Jaquelin Bautista
The following article is featured in the January 2020 special edition of The Campus, The Beaverbeat.
At the City College of New York, we support our athletes. Whether that means sharing game day information or cheering from the bleachers, we are proud of the dedicated students and coaches that represent us on the fields, tracks, and courts.
The most pressing reason for supporting our female athletes and coaches specifically is that by the age of 14, girls begin to stop playing sports at twice the rate that boys do. The overarching factor that causes so many girls to drop out of sports is the lack of access. Girls have approximately 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys do, which forces them to look elsewhere for opportunities that may be unaffordable or nonexistent.
Another concern for female athletes is safety and transportation. The lack of access to sports facilities, especially in many urban areas, can force girls to travel through unsafe neighborhoods to go to practices. Other times, girls stay home if the practice facilities are too far and there are no safe transportation options, such as carpooling, buses, or trains, to take them there.
The overwhelming list of reasons why women tend to drop out of sports more frequently than men also includes the poor quality of experience. General quality issues include poor practice facilities (especially when compared to the facilities men use), suboptimal playing times, the lack of experienced coaches, and coaches that are more focused on the male team. Issues with funding, which are more prevalent in girl’s programs, can lead to poor equipment and uniform quality, making it more difficult to practice and play comfortably.
Though there has been a higher rate of representation and equality throughout many sectors, there are still proportionately fewer role models for women to look up to, and the social stigma attached to female participation in sports can lead to girls becoming the victims of bullying, social isolation, and negative performance evaluations.
The Campus conducted a deep dive into the makeup of the CCNY teams and coaches to see just how much support and how many opportunities female athletes have. As of 2018, CCNY had a total of 137 male athletes and 97 female athletes. At CCNY, there are sports offered to both men and women, such as cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, soccer, basketball, and volleyball, however, CCNY does not have co-ed sports. The only sport offered exclusively for men is baseball, and the only sport offered exclusively for women is fencing.
What is striking about the sports department at CCNY is the lack of female representation in the coaching staff. All of the men’s sports teams, besides the baseball and volleyball teams, have part-time head coaches. The baseball team has a full-time male coach and the volleyball team has a part-time female coach. Additionally, each of the men’s teams, besides baseball and volleyball, have 5 part-time male employees or volunteers to fill the roles of assistant coaches. The number of assistant coaches does not change for the women’s teams.
When analyzing the number of male and female assistant coaches for each time, it becomes clear that the number of male assistant coaches far exceeds the number of female head coaches. The men’s teams have a total of 30 male assistant coaches and only 2 female assistant coaches. Similarly, women’s teams have a total of 16 male partners assistant coaches and only 2 female coaches.
When analyzing the funding allocations, we discovered that male and female full-time head coaches are supposed to make an average annual salary of $56,000, however, there are no full-time female head coaches for any teams at CCNY. The funding allocations began to get interesting when we analyzed the operating, or game day, expenses for both men and women’s teams at CCNY. For example, the men’s soccer team has 33 team members while the women’s team only has 19, however, the game-day expenses for the men’s team is set at $293 per player, making the teams total expense $9,679, whereas the expenses for the women’s team is set at $592 per player for a total of $11,251.
Though the women’s team is smaller, the game-day expenses are much higher per player for women than for men, making the difference in total expense seem very similar.
This trend can be seen for multiple teams on campus, including the men and
women’s basketball team. The men’s basketball team has 16 players and the game-day expense per male player is set at $1,083 making the total team expense $17,321. The women’s team, on the other hand, only has 10 players, but the game-day expenses are $1,684 per player, making the total team expense $16,837.
By quickly glancing at the report, which leaves the total expense for the men’s teams at $253,000 and the total expenses for the women’s team at $247,500, one cannot gauge the large discrepancy in per player cost that exists. So the question then becomes, where do the extra expenses per female player come from?
The City College Equity in Athletic 2018 report did not go into the details of the allocations of uniforms, meals, and transportation costs which contribute to the game-day expenses. In order to gain a better understanding of the funding disparities amongst male and female teams, an analysis of the 2017 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) revenue report was conducted and showed that for equipment, uniforms, and supplies, men’s teams spent an average of $1,451,000, while women’s teams spent $819,000.
Across all sports nationally, we found that men’s teams generally spent more in total than women’s teams, including specific areas like transportation and medical services. The question then remains, why are game-day expenses higher for CCNY female athletes teams? If we want to show the female athletes at CCNY that we support each one of them, we need to answer questions like this one and make sure their ability to play on a team is not dependent on financial inconsistencies.