The men’s basketball team has an operational budget of $7.1 million, while the women’s team receives $3.1 million. The budgets cover all staff salaries, general expenses, medical expenses, travel, home game expenses, recruiting and financial aid, said Byron Hatch, associate athletic director for business.
The money for the teams’ budgets comes from ticket sales, Southeastern Conference and National Collegiate Athletic Association distributes, sponsorships and licensing revenue, Hatch said.
Men’s basketball last year averaged an attendance of 14,596 for home games while the women’s team averaged 1, 602 per game. Women’s basketball does make revenue from ticket sales, Hatch said.
“I’m not sure you can pinpoint a specific reason why attendance is different,” Hatch said. “However, in comparing our attendance across all NCAA Division I programs, we are higher than average in men’s basketball and slightly above average for women’s basketball.”
There are lots of factors that contribute to the differences in the two team’s budgets. Some of them include a difference in staff salaries due to the differing markets for men’s versus women’s coaching staffs. It is also affected by the number of players who graduate and need to be replaced by new students, differing home game expenses based on attendance, the number of times a team has to travel and how many people travel, Hatch said.
Both teams are scheduled to travel 13 times this season, Hatch said.
The men’s team has 14 players on the roster, while the women’s team has only nine. The men’s team also has five more staff members on their roster than the women’s team.
According to NCAA guidelines, the number of scholarships for women’s basketball is limited to 15, and the number for men’s is limited to 13. The UofA fully funds the maximum amount of scholarships, but it is up to coaches to decide if they want to provide the full number of scholarships to their teams, Hatch said.
Lindsay Lawrence, a manager for the women’s basketball team said she thinks that there is definitely more support for the men’s team from students and the general public. She said she thinks this is because the men’s games can be more exciting since the players tend to be able to run faster, jump higher and can dunk.
“I don't think it is necessarily intentional that the women's team tends to be overlooked, but it does happen because it draws less fans,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence said she thinks Razorback fans should make more of an effort to show their support for the women’s team because the players work just as hard and as long as the men’s team. She also said that the environment provided by loud fans is much better than playing in a quiet gym.
“Women's basketball is just as important as men's basketball, and the team wants support from the community,” Lawrence said. “So just because they don't play at the same speed or in the same way does not mean that they don't need and want the support and attention from fans and students.“
Sophomore Wesley Wells said he is a huge Razorback fan, and although he attended between 15 and 20 men’s games last year, he only attended one of the women’s games. He said he relates better to the men’s games because he used to play basketball.
“Women’s basketball is boring,” Wells said.
Freshman William McConnell said he is a basketball fan and is planning on attending the men’s games this year, but since he is a “bigger fan of men’s sports,” he will not be attending the women’s games.
“None of my friends go to the women’s games,” McConnell said. “I would be by myself.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article said that women's basketball does not make any revenue, when in fact it does.