Examining Coaches Salary Gap

By Emma Way

Student Life Editor 


In the US, women earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar men earn, and athletics prove no exception. In many cases display they an even larger wage gap between genders. Washington College is leaps and bounds ahead of many other athletic departments around the country, but still has a way to go to achieve equal pay between coaches of men’s teams and women’s teams.

According to the Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Data Analysis, WC’s average head coach salary for a men’s team is $41,631, while the salary for a women’s team is $37,036. Assistant coaches receive approximately $13,436 and $8,958, for men’s and women’s teams, respectively.

Both statistics have around a $4,500 gap between men and women’s athletics, whereas in the NCAA Division III (without football) as a whole there is only about a $2,000 wage gap.

Where WC is ahead in comparision to the national average, head coaches of men’s teams are paid on average $40,000 more, or about double the average women’s head coach salary of $40,573.

Although women’s college sports have considerably increased in visibility, participation, and popularity since the induction of Title IX, according to a New York Times’ article in 2012, the female coaches’ salaries are still steadily catching up to their male counterparts.

Alan Chesney, director of Human Resources, suggests that the main reason behind coaches’ wage inequality is due to the salary market, which is the average salary colleges across the country pay a coach in a particular sport.  “On average (median) market salaries, for the sports we offer is $12,000 higher for men’s sports than women’s sports,” he said.  “When you look at the salaries of coaches at comparable institutions…the coaches in men’s sports are paid substantially more than the coaches in women’s sports. The difference at WC is substantially lower than the market difference.”

This graph illustrates the differences in salary between male and female coaches.
This graph illustrates the differences in salary between male and female coaches.

The longstanding inequality in the salary market is primarily due to national interest. Men’s sports have traditionally received more attention than women’s sports with college basketball as just one example. When both of the University of Connecticut basketball teams won the NCAA championship title, the men’s team generated 21.2 million views on CBS, while only 4.3 million watched the women’s team win on ESPN just one day later, according to USA Today.

Substantial differences in popularity are largely behind the wage inequality for coaches in men’s sports versus coaches in women’s sports, but WC has made significant efforts to equalize the wage gap. Chesney said, “During the last three years we have reviewed salaries for internal equity and made salary adjustments on the basis of the analysis.”

Regardless, compared to our Division III equivalents, specifically colleges that also do not have a football team, the College is behind.

On a national scale, sports like basketball, in particular, have huge gaps in salaries, but WC is setting a precedent for equal pay with our men’s and women’s basketball coaches.

Head Coach of the women’s basketball team Alisha Mosley joined the WC family in May 2013. “Our budgets are the same, our salaries are the same, they’re pretty comparable,” she said. “I’m not sure of the salaries on the other sports, but women’s basketball and men’s basketball are pretty much across the board the same.”

Compared to wage gaps that display figures for coaches of men’s sports double that of women’s sports and often an even larger disparity in Division I sports, WC is progressing towards wage equality.

Another way that Chesney and the Human Resources staff have made appropriate salary adjustments to alleviate the wage gap, not only in gender, but also compared to other colleges, is through participation in market surveys. “We have actually adjusted the salaries of employees who are paid significantly below the average salary for the position,” he said.

Decisions to equalize pay disparities and increase coaches’ salaries to better match the market “has allowed us to recruit and retain excellent coaches,” said Chesney.

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