The number of women competing at the highest level of college athletics continues to increase along with a growing funding gap between men’s and women’s sports programs, according to an NCAA report examining the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
The report, released Thursday morning and entitled “The State of Women in College Sports,” found that 47.1% of opportunities for participation for women in Division I in 2020 were compared to 26.4% in 1982.
Yet, amid that growth, men’s programs received more than double that of women’s programs in allocated resources by 2020 – and that gap was even more pronounced when they moved to the home of the most profitable sports that generate revenue. : the Football Bowl Subdivision, the top division within Division I that has the Alabamas, Ohio States and Southern California of the sports world.
“It tells you that schools invest an enormous amount of money in the money makers,” Amy Wilson. NCAA director for the office of inclusion and chief reporter, told The Associated Press, referring to football as the primary income-generating sport, along with basketball for men.
“It speaks to the business side of what college sports have become.”
The gender gap in funding approaches almost 3-1 ratios when examining recruiting expenses as well as compensation for head coaches and assistant coaches. And that gap is not new, even with increased spending for women in all three divisions.
The difference between median total expenditure on programs for men and women in FBS schools, in particular, has grown from $ 12.7 million in 2009 to $ 25.6 million in 2019.
Wilson said these deviations do not automatically constitute a violation of Title IX, which guarantees equality between men and women in education and prohibits discrimination based on sex in any education programs or activities that receive federal funding. But they are concerned about evaluating whether schools provide equal opportunities for, and treatment of, male and female athletes, and how they spend to achieve those goals.
“Yes, the numbers are strong. It’s not a small difference; it’s a big difference,” she said. “This milestone title IX anniversary is an opportune time to redeploy funding for equal participation opportunities, experiences and financial aid for student-athletes in men’s and women’s athletics programs.”
Compliance with Title IX can be measured in several ways, including whether the gender distribution of the general program is proportional to that of the general student body. And yet, the study found that Division I athletics could not meet this standard when examining 2020 data; women made up 54% of the undergraduate student body in Division I compared to that previously mentioned 47.1% rate.
“I think it’s a hole enough that we have to ask ourselves: … are there opportunities that can be created and form more teams?” said Wilson.
Thursday’s anniversary IX anniversary comes at a time when the governing body for college sports recently updated its transgender policies, and was also criticized for not guaranteeing equality for men’s and women’s basketball tournaments last year after a sharp outside review.
Other takeaways from the report:
Lack of women in leadership
Fewer women fill roles as head coaches since President Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law.
The percentage of women’s teams led by female coaches dropped from better than 90% in 1972 to 41% in 2020 among all three divisions. There were fewer women’s teams at the time, and the study attributes the decline to more men coaching women’s teams, enough to convince women’s coaches in the late ’80s, with no corresponding increase in women running men’s programs coache.
These low numbers for women coaching women do not surprise Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport in Central Florida. TIDES compiles annual report cards that examine diversity here for college sports and professional leagues, with its most recent report on FBS schools released in January.
“Without movement,” Lapchick told the AP. “It’s as confusing as any of the statistics we report. Usually there’s some marginal improvement on some issues. And this is barely underway.”
As far as athletic directors are concerned, women accounted for at best about 20% of ADs dating back to 1980 after they dropped “drastically” and 23.9% in 2020, according to the study.
The outlier among women in leadership roles was conference commissioners, with women overcoming men in the past five years in gaining those positions and accounting for 31% of those roles for 2019-2020, according to the study.
Concerns about diversity
The report also noted a lack of women of color in those leadership roles.
The report found that about 16% of women who worked as head coaches of women’s teams and 16% of female athletics directors in all divisions were minorities in 2019-20. Those percentages have increased “somewhat” from five years ago.
high school drop-offs
Going back to high school athletics, the report found that the participation numbers of girls still need to reach those of boys in the 1971-72 school year, leading to the implementation of the law.
At present, participation rates for boys measured at nearly 3.7 million, more than 264,000 higher than girls as recently as 2019.
“I think it’s a reminder that for those who say, ‘Girls and women can play any sport they want, it’s 50 years after Title IX,’ the college data and the high school data show that ‘ r are still pretty big participation gaps, “Wilson said. “And I don’t think it’s that they do not want to play. I think we need to think more about: What are the barriers to that access?”