As college sports begin to undergo drastic changes, one issue remains hushed and behind
the limelight of argumentation. Although the ability to unionize in college athletics remains a distant possibility — albeit within a few years’ reach — sports commenta- tors, pundits and analysts alike have
failed to see a prominent issue. How will the possibility of unions affect gender equity in college athletics? It’s no secret that women’s athletics are denied a piece of the money machine that is college athletics.
At UTSA, the budget that was allotted to Athletic Director Lynn Hickey in 2012 was $14 million, and has undoubtedly increased since then due to the multiple conference changes. The football team has changed conferences multiple times, from Independent to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and then from WAC to Conference USA. In addition to conference changes, UTSA Athletics expenses have doubled — from $11,587,290 in the 2009-10 season to $23,436,495 in the 2013-14 season — with the change to the BCS (Bowl Conference Championship) increasing athletic scholarships from 60 in an academic year to 85.
How much of the expenses generated by the UTSA athletics program go to women’s soccer, golf, volleyball, as well as other women’s sports?
According to a USA Today article published in 2012, athletic expenses directly relate to scholar- ships, coaching staff and building grounds, as well as a category defined as “other”.
With the football program demanding more scholarships in direct correlation with joining the BCS, coupled with the demand in paying top coaches such as BCS National Championship winner Larry Coker, as well as the use of the Alamodome, is UTSA being fair to the Title IX requirements?
Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
In addition, one notable enforcement of Title IX is the protection of a fair share of funds for athletic scholarships to females.
Can one say without questions that of the 85 athletic scholarships given to the UTSA athletics department, women’s sports receive a fair share of funds for athletic scholarships?
With the football program focused solely on winning and ex- panding and the added factors of baseball and basketball, these numbers raise questions on Title IX alone.
Factor in the looming questions of unionizing in college athletics and women will undoubtedly get overlooked once more, simply because football demands more money and attention.
Because these questions are not able to be answered — and are not entirely relevant in regards to unionizing — does not mean they need to be taken lightly, or overlooked.
Women’s equality in sports needs to be taken seriously and funded properly. If this task has toiled and taken years to get to its current state, then the consequences of overlooking Title IX with unionizing and imaging rights and a slew of other sports issues on the horizon, are bleak.