When Terry Gawlik meets with student-athletes, she asks them to tell her what Title IX means.

In an audience comprised of male and female student-athletes, she almost always receives a response from a student that Title IX is meant to create equality for women.

Gawlik, a senior associate athletic director for sports administration and a senior women’s administrator at the University of Wisconsin, said many student-athletes and students in general appear to have a misunderstanding of what Title IX means and what it does.

While the 1972 federal law created equal opportunities for women within the education system, the Department of Justice clearly outlines the law actually prohibits any discrimination on the basis of sex in a federally funded education program or activity.

If a university didn’t have enough male participation opportunities, they would be in violation of Title IX because the men would be the underrepresented sex at the university, Gawlik explained.

“It’s equality in terms of representation in specific to athletics, that you represent the folks that participate in your sports,” Gawlik said.

Athletic funding

A 2014 NCAA report on Division 1 sports found women’s sports receive about 40 percent of college sport operating dollars and 36 percent of college athletic team recruitment spending.  

At first glance, these numbers may appear to be inequitable, but according to NCAA guidelines, Title IX does not require the same amount of money to be spent on male and female sports. But Title IX does state scholarships must be given proportionally to participants in male and female sports.

“It’s equality in terms of representation in specific to athletics, that you represent the folks that participate in your sports.”Terry Gawlick

Title IX has a provision that says male and female students must receive equitable “treatment” and “benefits.”

While Gawlick said a comparison of the amount the UW athletics department spends on its operating budget for men’s and women’s sports is not necessarily feasible, a closer examination of how UW meets these Title IX requirements can explain why there appear to be discrepancies in funding for men’s and women’s sports.

UW provides the maximum amount of scholarships the NCAA allows. But the total amount of individual scholarships that can be awarded for each sport varies.

Head counts, according to Next College Student Athlete, are the total number of individual athletic scholarships a sport can give.

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Gawlik said UW allows the maximum amount because the university will never spend the proportionate amount of scholarships for men’s and women’s sports since one men’s sport is allowed 25 new counters.

Other women’s sports like volleyball are limited to maximum of 12 counters.

Haley Winckler/The Badger Herald

But UW does not have a women’s sports team that’s proportionately equal to men’s football, Gawlik explained. If UW were to correct the differences in male and female sports financial aid to be proportionate to one another, UW would need to add six women’s sports teams.  

But the additional women’s teams wouldn’t match the proportionality of male and female athletes — there would be too many women, Gawlik said.  

“We don’t match it because we don’t believe as an institution that [a proportional] prong is feasible to what we are trying to do,” she said. 

Coaches are also never limited to the amount of in-state and out-of-state students they can recruit. Coaches are allowed to use the maximum amount of scholarships delegated by the NCAA to recruit students, Gawlik said.  

Gawlik explained some sports may need to attract more out-of-state students and therefore spend more money on recruitment. For a sport like volleyball, UW’s coach may stay closer to Wisconsin and recruit students from the “volleyball hotbed” of Illinois and Indiana.

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As indicated by the maximum number of scholarships for sports available, Doug Tiedt, the senior associate athletic director for student services, said the same holds true for UW’s other services for student-athletes like strength and conditioning or athletic training.  

In examining the Wisconsin men’s hockey budget for example, it may appear the men are given more toward their equipment budget. But in reality, the men’s team spends more because of various factors like the men breaking more hockey sticks or being harder on their skates than the women’s team, Tiedt said.

Ben Pierce/The Badger Herald

Tiedt said while the numbers in terms of money spent on the team may appear inequitable, the women’s hockey team has the same opportunity as the men to purchase more equipment if they need to.

“There is no delineation between men’s and women’s sports, it just goes the way that it does,” Tiedt said.

UW student-athletes also have access to academic resources like tutoring, Tiedt said. Typically male athletes spend more money on tutoring than female athletes, though both have the same opportunity to use the tutoring services.

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Despite the fact women don’t use those services as much as the men do, female athletes, for the most part, outperform the male athletes in terms of academics, Tiedt said.

“There is no separation based upon whether or not you’re male or female,” Tiedt said. “The difference in numbers here is that some students invest more in these services than others.”

Sydney McGinnis, a forward on the UW women’s soccer team,

“There is no delineation between men’s and women’s sports, it just goes the way that it does.”Doug Tiedt

said in an email to The Badger Herald she frequently uses the resources UW provides for student-athletes, including their tutoring services.

McGinnis said she keeps in contact with her academic adviser to always make sure she is eligible for practice and on track to graduate. The tutors are also helpful because of their flexible schedules.

In addition, McGinnis said she has met with UW’s nutritionist throughout her college athletic career to help maximize her performance on the field.

“All of these privileges are incredibly valuable to me as a student-athlete and I am truly thankful for getting the opportunities to take advantage of what the athletic program offers,” McGinnis said.

Recruitment and retention

Though the varying proportionality of the participating students in those areas may explain the inbalance between male and female sports, the differences in male and female coaches’ salaries can primarily be attributed to one factor — the market.

When looking to hire a new coach, UW considers all the market factors that might determine the salary they offer a potential new coach, Gawlik said.

Though the market may play an important part in the hiring process, Gawlik said the university is also sensitive to ensuring they receive a broad base of applications from a diverse group of applicants.

In the 2014 fiscal year, the median salary for a head coach of a men’s team was $117,971, compared to $97,226 for the head coach of a women’s team. In the 2015 fiscal year, both those numbers increased, to $123,568 and $114,900, respectively.

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Though UW places an emphasis on attracting a more diverse group of applicants, it has become increasingly difficult to find qualified female coaches, Gawlik said. In the market for certain sports like swimming and track, the applicant pool is limited when it comes to the number of female applicants.

“We’ve never had a female volleyball coach [at UW], not because we haven’t tried, but due to the fact it’s hard to find one,” Gawlik said.

The decreased number of female coaches is not just limited to UW. A University of Minnesota report found men occupy 80 percent of the current coaching positions in both men’s and women’s sports.

“There is never a time that I feel unwelcome at the athletic facilities as a woman.”Sydney McGinnis

Additionally, the report stated nearly all male athletes, about 96 to 98 percent, were coached by male coaches, and males also coached about 60 percent of female athletes.

There have been varying theories as to why this decline has occurred since Title IX’s institution. Several studies seem to suggest it may be due to the challenges women face in the workplace.

Gawlik, a self-proclaimed “Title IX baby,” recalls only being coached by female coaches. At the time, coaches of female teams were volunteers and not paid until Title IX came along. The result meant more paid positions for men and women interested in becoming coached, she said.

“There might be a historical factor there,” she explained.

Prior to attending UW, McGinnis said she had never had a female coach.

Jason Chan/The Badger Herald

Now a junior, McGinnis plays for Paula Wilkens, the head coach of the women’s soccer team. Despite Wilkens being her first female coach, McGinnis said the gender of her coach doesn’t matter to her.

“I have never really thought about preferring [a male or female coach] over the other. At the end of the day, if they are a good coach then I am happy to play for them,” McGinnis said.

Despite the lack of female coaches, McGinnis said she has never felt unwelcome at the any of UW’s athletic facilities.

She said even UW’s football coach, Paul Chryst is always friendly and says “hello” to her team.

“There is never a time that I feel unwelcome at the athletic facilities as a woman,” McGinnis said. “We are respected and taken seriously by our coaching staff and strength coaches on a daily basis.”