Florida Tech displayed instances of inequalities, particularly among head coach salaries for men’s and women’s athletic teams in 2018, according to data reported within the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act.
The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act is an annual report released from the Department of Education that examines gender equity amongst collegiate athletic programs.
The most recent data from the Department of Education, dating from June of 2017 through May of 2018, cited the average pay for a head coach for men’s varsity sports programs at Florida Tech was $60,131. The average pay for a head coach for women’s varsity sports programs at Florida Tech was $40,700; resulting in nearly a $20,000 gap.
“We’re always looking at salaries,” said Bill Jurgens, Florida Tech’s athletic director.
Jurgens also stated that there are numerous factors that play into a coach’s salary at Florida Tech. For example, contributing factors include age and experience, time spent at Florida Tech, success of the team, particularly raises for NCAA appearances and SSC championship wins. Florida Tech sports camps and youth programs also provide opportunities for coaches to obtain additional pay.
“I will say, there is much more money generated from the camps for men’s sports than women’s sports,” Jurgens said. “It often has a lot to do with the receptiveness of certain camps. Some camps just draw a lot of people and a lot of youth and others don’t draw as much, and some of it has to do with your success and reputation.”
·According to Val Silvestrini, head coach of the Panthers softball team, the issue with the salary gap goes beyond gender.
“To me, the issue is not male versus female,” Silvestrini said. “My issue is that our salaries are not comparable to the other salaries in the conference.”
Florida Tech is one of 11 schools that competes within the NCAA Division II Sunshine State Conference. In comparison to other salary gaps between schools within the SSC, Florida Tech had the second largest pay gap among head coach’s salary for men’s and women’s varsity sports. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University had the largest gap of $54,166.
Florida Tech’s gap of exactly $19,431 was almost double that of all other schools in the SSC, which include Barry University, Eckerd College, Florida Southern College, Lynn University, Nova Southeastern University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Rollins College, Saint Leo University and the University of Tampa.
Pete Mazzone, Florida Tech’s associate athletic director as well as the head coach for the Panther’s men’s and women’s cross country team, alike to Jurgens emphasized that there are many factors as to why there are discrepancies between the salaries.
“Certain factors need to be taken into consideration when looking at that stand alone number,” Mazzone said. “Longevity as well as experience is not something that that gap examines.”
Mazzone went on to say that he thinks “there should be room for improvement.”
“If you have one coach that has been here for eight years and that person happens to be coaching a female sport, there’s no difference in coaching men and they should be compensated for that properly,” Mazzone said.
Recruiting Budget Gap within the 2018 EADA Report
Another gap that stood out within the Department of Education’s EADA report for Florida Tech was the recruiting budget for men’s and women’s sports. In the 2018 athletic year, the recruiting budget for men’s sports was $87,841, and the recruiting budget for women’s sports at Florida Tech was $29,502—a $58,339 gap. According to David Fassino, Florida Tech athletics business manager, it is crucial to compare the recruiting budgets to the percentage of male and female athletes at Florida Tech.
“Once you look at that comparison you should see that the percentage of male and female athletes should be nearly equal to or very close to the allocation of the recruiting budgets being spent on men’s and women’s sports,” Fassino said.
Sixty-five percent of Florida Tech athletes were male and the remaining 34 percent of athletes were women. Yet, 75 percent of the entire recruiting budget was spent on men’s varsity sports, and 25 percent was spent on women’s sports.
According to Alexander Vamosi—an associate professor in the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business who teaches sports economy— the gap within the recruiting budget at Florida Tech “is not a fair comparison.”
“Football is a huge outlier in terms of operating expenses as well, but also the amount of revenue they bring in,” Vamosi said.
“No sport of such size or portion is at all equivalent to football in women’s athletics.”
Florida Tech is the only school within the SSC that has a football program. The Panther’s football program does not compete within the SSC, rather they compete in the Gulf South Conference, playing against many teams located outside of Florida.
Vamosi also stated that a huge factor that plays into the recruiting budgets at any athletic program is revenue.
“Primarily speaking, football and men’s basketball generate the most revenue and that’s simply because there is a higher consumer demand for those sports than others, making them profitable,” Vamosi said.
Backing Vamosi’s claims, the 2018 EADA report for Florida Tech showed that revenue generated from football was $3150,032, and the total revenue for all men’s sports combined not including football and basketball was $3,625,096. All eight other men’s varsity athletics programs brought in only about $475,000 more combined than football and men’s basketball alone.
“The bottom line is that football is the main reason why there is a gap within the recruiting budget,” Vamosi said.
Kailee O’brien, a sophomore who was recruited out of Ohio to play as a midfielder for the Panther’s lacrosse program, was surprised to hear of the gap, but could see why there is such a discrepancy, saying that “football is a massive program in comparison to other sports teams on campus.”
“It makes sense why there’s a gap, but it’s crazy to see that $58,000 number at first,” O’Brien said. “It’s also scary that we’re not really aware of it.”
Evan Thompson, a junior from Orlando on the football team as well as the men’s golf team, was not surprised of that gap because of his experiences on the football team and the general understanding that football brings in large amounts of revenue between gameday tickets, revenues, special events, fundraising and more.
“I still feel as though the girls are not treated as fairly and are not given the same amount of opportunities as males at this tech school,” Thompson said. “I feel as though our school should do more research into closing this gap, and creating a more engaging culture for particularly women student-athletes at our school.”
Jurgens said that one of his main priorities in 2020 will be to perform a yearly analysis of data within the EADA report, specifically the gap among coaching salaries.
“We will look at comparisons not just within the conference, but nationally,” Jurgens said. “The salaries are very important. I think it’s critical that we provide equitable support for the men and the women’s teams.”
As of now, the analysis is still underway as data is being collected for the 2019 athletic year. According to Jurgens, this criteria will be examined shortly into 2020.