Expense disparity prevalent in athletic department

Expense disparity prevalent in athletic department

Expense disparity prevalent in athletic department
May 02
09:00 2019

The UNT athletics department has discrepancies in its expenses between employees, athletes and coaches, according to 2018 financial documents filed with the NCAA. The athletic department spent more than $17.9 million on men’s sports and $6.9 million on women’s sports in the fiscal year 2018. Thirteen million dollars is marked as “Not Allocated by Gender.”

In terms of total revenues, men-specific sports brought in $4.7 million to the athletic department, while women-specific sports brought in $538,343. The remaining $32.7 million is marked as “Not Allocated by Gender” on the income statements.

Infographic by Jordan Collard

The “Not Allocated by Gender” section on the documents denotes funds that were spread out/collected among multiple sports and not calculated specifically to each sport. The largest example of this is in marketing, where 99.1 percent of all expenses are marked in this category, according to Athletic Director Wren Baker.

Marketing is one of the largest discrepancies on the financial documents, by percentage. In the fiscal year 2018, the UNT athletics department spent a total of $6,721 on marketing for men’s sports and $716 on women’s sports. Men’s sports received 9.4 times more funding for marketing than women’s sports.

The soccer program, which won its fifth consecutive Conference USA championship in the 2018 season, received $170 in marketing, while the men’s golf team, which has not won a meet during its 2018-19 season as of March 29, received $1,978. The sport that received the most marketing funds was men’s basketball, which received over $3,000 for 2018.

Stacy Martin, the athletic department’s chief financial officer, attributes this to the College Basketball Invitational that the men’s basketball team participated in and won.

“The majority of that [funding] went to some special stuff we did for CBI last year,” Martin said. “Some of it is in ‘Expenses Not Related [to Gender],’ but I know specifically that’s what’s in basketball.”

Football had the highest amount of expenses spent out of every program. Football led in almost every expense categories, including athletic student aid ($2.1 million), guarantees ($550,000), severance payments ($616,661, paid to former head coach Dan McCarney, according to Martin), recruiting ($378,188), team travel ($955,380), equipment ($1.16 million), game expenses ($934,146), athletics facility debt services ($2.2 million), direct overhead ($172,562), membership dues ($9,300), student-athlete meals ($50,961) and bowl expenses ($687,690).

Baker attributes the difference in spending to football, which requires the most equipment, upkeep and overall expenses out of all NCAA sports at UNT.

“The reality is we spend an inordinate amount of money on football,” Baker said. “And the reason we do that is there’s a direct [return on investment]. You’re selling tickets for a much more substantial amount.”

Comparatively, football received the most revenue of all sports at UNT.  Head coach Seth Littrell and the program was able to rake in over $4.2 million for the athletic department. Football led in several categories of revenue: ticket sales ($1.2 million), guarantees ($1 million), contributions ($731,939), concession sales ($516,749), sports camps revenues ($56,503) and bowl revenues ($700,816).

In the 2018-19 school year, UNT had 16 NCAA-sanctioned athletics programs. Football, men’s basketball, indoor and outdoor track, cross country and golf are men’s programs and volleyball, soccer, softball, women’s basketball, indoor and outdoor track, cross country, golf, swimming and diving and tennis are women’s programs.

Excluding cross country and track and field, because they share the same head coach, men head coaches made an average of $391,333.25 in 2018, regardless of sport. The two women head coaches — women’s basketball’s Jalie Mitchell and swimming and diving’s Brittany Roth — earned $329,718 combined.

As far as comparable sports, the difference between men’s basketball head coach Grant McCasland and Mitchell’s salaries is $305,000. Both of their salaries were revised and increased on June 1, 2018, following seasons where each coach improved on the previous season’s record. The athletic department works out salaries based on head coaches in the conference that coach the same sport rather than the opposite gender’s head coach, according to Baker.

“We’ve worked hard to compensate our coaches in the top third of the conference, regardless of what sport they’re in,” Baker said. “That’s the relevant data point we look at. When we’re looking at women’s basketball head coach pay, I look at what we pay our women’s basketball coach versus the other 13 Conference USA teams, and I want to pay that very competitively.”

In regards to hiring based on diversity, Baker said the department stresses hiring different types of people but focuses on the skill of the coach.

“We have a responsibility to bring diversity to our department,” Baker said. “But ultimately, I think our greatest responsibility is to hire the most qualified head coach for the position. And that’s what we try to do. If everything is equal, we’re going to always go with a diverse candidate.”

In the fiscal year 2018, male sports head coaches made a total of $2,629,929, with all six of the head coaches being male, averaging $657,482.25. Head coaches of women’s sports, on the other hand, made a total of $923,823 in 2018, with seven of the nine head coaches being men, averaging $115,477.88.

Despite 62.5 percent of NCAA-regulated sports at UNT being women-only, there are two head coaches who are women among 16 sports.

This trend does not stop at head coaches, as 27 of the 108 total employees in the athletic department are women, with the highest ranking woman employee being Martin.

Martin signed onto the athletic department in August 2016. Her contract included an annual payment of $180,000. In comparison, Baker earned a base salary of $450,000 in 2018. These are two salaries included in the $6.4 million spent on Administrative Compensation.

Baker said Martin’s hiring was a first step toward diversifying the department.

“If you look at some of the administration hires, we’ve got Stacy,” Baker said. “[She] was one of my first hires and is on our executive team [as] a female.”

With respect to student-athletes, 140 athletes who are men received $2,937,818 in scholarship funds, with the equivalent of 81.8 percent of athletes receiving a full-ride. On the other side, 155 women received $2,586,699, with the equivalent of 66.5 percent of athletes receiving a full-ride. There were 180 men athletes at UNT during 2018, 121 of whom played football. In comparison, 170 women suited up for North Texas.

Title IX dictates “that the same dollars be spent proportional to participation in scholarships.” The roughly $400,000 difference could be higher if an equal amount of men were receiving athletic aid.

Martin stressed that increasing the number of chances the women’s programs receive to compete in the postseason is very important to the program.

“We’ve also heavily invested in our opportunities for postseason,” Martin said. “Women’s basketball played in the WBI, swimming took 13 or 14 to the National Invitational. We’re putting in bids for Conference USA Championships because we have a new facility. The opportunity on the women’s side has greatly enhanced and having been a female student-athlete, you feel that.”

Despite these discrepancies, Baker said he is hopeful for the future of the diversity on UNT athletics.

“On the difference in spending on men’s sports vs. women’s sports, one thing that I am proud of is that we’ve increased our spending on every sport,” Baker said. “We spent $14 million on a track and field and soccer stadium that two-thirds of the athletes that use it are female and it represents a significant number of our female athletes.”

About Author

Zachary Cottam

Zachary Cottam

Zachary Cottam is the Sports Editor for the North Texas Daily.

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