Equal sports budgets top priority for Baker's athletic department

04/25/08

Part one: Comparison of coaching salaries.

Part two: BU pays medical premium.

PART THREE: Department budgetsUniforms. Buses. Meals. Hotels. Greens Fees. They all cost money, and they are all part of the many expenses that Baker University must cover through its athletic budget.

Assistant athletic director Theresa Yetmar said the athletic department works extremely hard to provide equal funding opportunities for every sport at Baker.

"Each head coach builds a budget for his or her program from the exact same Excel spreadsheet, so categorically the items offered are the same," she said. "The bottom line total allocated will vary based on a variety of factors."

According to www.ed.gov, The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act requires co-educational institutions of postsecondary education that participate in a Title IX, federal student financial assistance program, and have an intercollegiate athletic program, to prepare an annual report to the Department of Education on athletic participation, staffing, and revenues and expenses, by men's and women's teams.

Athletic director Dan Harris and Yetmar work diligently to make sure each sport gets a fair share of the proverbial pie.

For the 2006-2007 athletic year, Baker University's revenues from the athletic program were $3,440,176 while its expenses incurred were $3,409,355.

Revenues include funds the athletic department receives from student tuition, admission fees and restricted funds coaches bring in. Expenses include everything that the department buys or funds to support an athletic team.

This means that the school's athletic budget had more than $30,000 that went back into the general university fund, Harris said.

The total amount spent on men's teams was just over $2 million while slightly more than $1 million went to women's programs.

While it would seem that significantly more money is spent on men's athletics, this would not be true. Almost 70 percent of the athletes on campus are men while around 30 percent are women.

Yetmar said the department has worked hard to provide equity among the different teams.

"We have worked diligently to improve gender balance in our budgets and to increase the salaries for the coaches in our women's programs," Yetmar said. "We have taken positive strides in the last five years."

When funds are broken down per participant, the average financial support from the department that each gender receives is not equal, Yetmar said.

"Right now, when you break down the cost per student-athlete, the women's athletic programs are actually receiving more per athlete than the men's athletic programs," Yetmar said. "However, some sports, for instance football - largest roster sport - and golf - one of the most expensive sports due to green fees - reflect these differences."

Basketball, golf and tennis are the most expensive sports at Baker. Each male basketball player costs Baker $2,522 per season, while each female basketball player costs the school $2,299. Each male golfer costs just over $1,000 while the female golfer needs just over $1,500 to complete a season. Tennis players, men and women, incur expenses of about $1,100 each season.

However, the most expensive sport in Baker's athletic budget is the football team, which has $84,580 of the pie each year.

The budget hasn't varied by more than 1 to 3 percent over the last decade, but the rising costs of gas, shipping and supplies have made the department work harder to maintain a reasonable budget.

"It has begun to get more difficult, but everyone has to deal with the changing economy, so we aren't any different," Harris said.

Another concern for the athletic department is postseason expenses. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics reimburses schools for postseason play in football but not in any other sport.

The hope is that every team makes the postseason so money must exist to fund those expenses, Harris said.

"Each year we allocate money for postseason play," Harris said. "So, if our teams have successful seasons, the funds are there to support their efforts."

Harris said there are three areas the department looks to improve every year.

"First, we have to have good facilities, which I think we have improved in recent years," he said. "Then, there has to be a sound budget with good salaries to get good coaches and keep good coaches around. Finally, which we need to continue to work on, is scholarships."

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