The Growing Gender Disparity in Power 5 Coaching Salaries
In October 2021, South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley signed a seven-year, $22.4 million contract, an annual raise of $1 million. The contract made her one of the three highest-paid coaches in the sport, along with UConn’s Geno Auriemma and LSU’s Kim Mulkey.
But Staley’s increase is the exception rather than the rule.
In Power 5 college sports, coach salaries for women’s sports are not increasing at a pace comparable to men’s, according to a new study submitted for official publication Wednesday, led by Wayne State Professor and Scholar-in-Residence at Syracuse, Scott. Hirko.
Between 2014 and 2021, the average earnings of male Power 5 coaches increased by 55%, while that of female coaches only increased by 33%.
The average salary for women rose from $3.9 million to $5.1 million. The average male salary rose from $12.2 million to $18.9 million. Male coaching buyouts also grew at an astronomically higher rate than all female salaries — 208%, from $574,188 to $1.8 million.
It is reasonable to assume that the average wages of women will continue to be lower than those of men.
The study notes that Power 5 football — by far the most lucrative college sport — contributed to the momentum. The launch of the College Football Playoff in 2014, for example, allowed for significant inflation in football spending.
But the disparity in growth rates suggests that the best programs have not provided an equitable investment in women’s sport. In fact, the study found that a growth gap existed even when football was removed from the equation.
“Leaders in athletics and education at the most competitive level in the NCAA (Division I-FBS) are failing higher education’s stated mission of gender equity,” concludes the study. “Instead, male hegemony remains alive and well in college sports.”