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Athletics Should Control Gap In Aid To Athletes

'The Heights' Urges BC To Ensure The Continuation Of Equitable Aid To Men And Women Athletes

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 02:01

According to a report filed by Boston College in compliance with the Equity In Athletics Disclosure Act, varsity male athletic participants received $1.7 million more in athletically-related student aid than female participants did during the 2011-12 season, despite there being only one more male than female participant. This gap results in male athletes receiving an average of $25,000 annually, while female athletes receive an average of $20,000 annually.

Although at first glance this gap in student aid seems alarmingly large, in comparison with similar schools it is less so. For example, at the University of Miami, male athletes on average receive $39,000 annually, while female athletes receive only $30,000 annually, a gap of $9,000 in comparison to BC’s gap of about $5,000. At Wake Forest University, the gap is about $6,000 in favor of women. These schools are less successful in keeping the number of male and female participants comparable, however. At Wake Forest, there are 238 male athletic participants and only 124 female participants. Duke University has a gap of only about $2,000, but similarly to Wake Forest has a large gap in participants—374 men to 274 women.

It seems that the Athletic Department is providing equal opportunities for male and female athletes, at least to a greater extent than similar ACC schools—in the last 10 years, the number of male and female participants has never differed by more than 30 athletes in either direction, and often switches between more men and more women.

While the $1.7 million gap is not extremely surprising, The Heights is concerned by how much of an increase this is from previous years. For example, in 2010, when there were 16 more male participants, the gap was only $940,000, according to the report. In 2009, the year with the next highest gap in aid, male athletes received $1.3 million more. What, then, caused this gap to increase so greatly from 2010 to 2011? While BC is not legally obligated to provide exactly equal dollar amounts of athletically-related student aid to men and women, it seems only fair that if the number of male and female participants is close to equal, the amount of aid should similarly be close to equal. BC has done a relatively good job of this in the past, and should pride itself on that. For this reason, The Heights hopes that the apparent trend of increasing gaps between male and female athletically-related student aid is limited in the upcoming years.

This year’s report was also the first in recent years to report revenue for ticketed sports without including institutional support, as is often done with non-ticketed sports. This results in a more transparent and accurate reflection of the finances of the men’s basketball, women’s basketball, football, and hockey teams. The Heights appreciates this effort on the part of the Athletic Department and hopes that in the future they will report finances similarly for non-ticketed sports.

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