Despite a women’s cross country NCAA championship win, a soccer championship bid and a promising basketball season, UA women’s athletics consistently loses money, and the coaches are paid less than their men’s team counterparts, according to Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act records.
UA women’s sports have lost money every year since 2010, including more than $20 million between July 2018 and June 2019, compared to the UA men’s profit of $39 million in the same time period, according to the 2019 EADA.
Part of the reason for the deficit is that Razorback women’s athletics tend to receive fewer donations and sell fewer tickets than men’s sports, said Clayton Hamilton, senior associate athletics director and chief financial officer for Razorback Athletics.
Clayton thinks most NCAA schools cover the financial deficits of their women’s programs through men’s revenue and that schools with profitable women’s teams are rare, he said.
The amount of money Razorback Athletics spent on coaches’ salaries has doubled in the past decade, from about $10.9 million in the 2009 fiscal year to $22.8 million in 2018, according to NCAA Membership Financial Reports.
This is not reflected in the average salaries of men’s and women’s team coaches, where head coaches of women's teams make less than assistant coaches of men’s teams –– $260,607 compared to $328,556, according to the 2019 EADA.
For comparison, the average salary of UA mens’ teams head coaches is $1,340,312, meaning that full-time women’s team head coaches make about 19% as much as their men’s teams counterparts, according to the 2019 EADA.
Hamilton thinks the salaries offered to coaches are based on what other SEC schools are able to offer them, he said.
“Really, the salaries are often market-driven,” Hamilton said.
Women’s team head coaches’ salaries made up about 23% of the total amount spent on head coaches’ salaries, according to the 2019 EADA report.
Among NCAA Division I schools, women’s teams coaches salaries typically made up 30% of the amount spent on head coaches’ salaries, about 7% higher than the UofA’s percentage, according to the 2017 NCAA Title IX Report.
These pay discrepancies are not based on the gender of the coaches, because the UofA has a majority-male coaching staff.
Women occupied no more than four of 15 head coach positions each year in the past decade, according to the 2019 EADA. Among assistant coaching positions, women filled nine of the 35 full-time assistant coaching spots.
The percentage of women coaching women in the NCAA has declined since the passage of Title IX, a law that prohibits discrimination based on gender in federally-funded educational programs, in 1972, reaching an all-time low of 42.4% in 2006, according to the 2017 NCAA Title IX Report.
Four UA women’s teams – golf, gymnastics, softball and tennis – are led by female head coaches, according to Razorback Athletics. This puts the percentage of women coaching women at the UofA at 44%, on par with the 2014 average of 43.4%, according to the 2017 NCAA Title IX Report.
While Hamilton thinks Razorback Athletics officials have tried to be intentional about hiring women to coach women’s sports, he thinks the hiring process is based on which candidates are interested and qualified, he said.
Women’s team head coaches at Auburn University, a similarly sized school based on student enrollment and number of athletes, received an average of $319,771 in 2017, according to the EADA. This is more than the $219,326 paid to UA women’s team head coaches that year, but about 18% of the $1,820,519 average salary for Auburn’s men’s team head coaches.
This disparity is also reflected in the total expenses of men's women’s teams, where Razorback Athletics spent $65.9 million on men’s sports versus $22.8 million on women’s, according to the 2019 EADA report.
A previous version of this article featured an inaccurate graphic that labeled the salaries of men's team assistant coaches and women's team head coaches incorrectly. It has been corrected.
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