Acosta-Carpenter Study Shows Decline in Female ADs

By Staff

Athletic Management, 14.4, June/July 2002,

The number of administrative jobs in NCAA athletics continues to grow, as does the number of women in administration. But the number of athletic directors who are female has declined in the past four years, according to the latest Women in Intercollegiate Sport study.

Conducted every two years since 1978 by R. Vivian Acosta and Linda Jean Carpenter, professors emerita of the City University of New York's Brooklyn College, the 2002 edition of the survey of all NCAA athletic departments with women's sports programs shows a continuation of trends seen in past years.

More women are participating as athletes, and the number of women's teams continues to increase. But the farther collegiate athletics gets from Title IX's passage, the more women's athletics programs are led by men.

Acosta and Carpenter received survey responses from 75 percent of the schools, consistent with their response rate through the years, and then used sources such as the NCAA and coaching directories to validate extrapolations for all athletic departments. They also asked responding athletic departments to provide organizational charts of their staffs, and made phone calls to schools to clear up any questions or discrepancies.

In 2002, the study found there were 27 female athletic directors in NCAA Division I, the same as in 2000 and down from 30 in 1998. In Division II, there were 41, down from 45 and 48 in previous surveys. In Division III, 108 women held the title, up from 99 in 2000 but down from 110 in 1998. At Division I-A universities, there are more female presidents than female athletic directors.

Meanwhile, there were 3,210 administrative jobs in NCAA programs that offer women's athletics, an increase of 282 jobs since 2000. The average number of administrators per school was 5.08 in Division I, 2.52 in Division II and 2.36 in Division III. The average number of females in athletic administration in 2002 was 1.59 in Division I, 0.87 in Division II and 0.95 in Division III.

Acosta and Carpenter found that the jobs held by women are more frequently in support staff rather than policy-making positions. Furthermore, 18.8 percent of NCAA athletic administrations have no women at any level, which is down from 23 percent in 2000.

Division II programs have the lowest representation of females in administrative staffs, with 31 percent of schools having no female administrators at any rank, compared to 7.4 percent in Division I and 20.6 percent in Division III. Acosta and Carpenter note that Division II also has the lowest average number of women's teams per school, at 6.94, and the lowest percentage of coaches who are female, at 38.9 percent.

The study also examines hiring trends in athletic training and sports information. For 2002, it found that the percentage of full-time head athletic trainers who are women is 27.8 percent, down from 28.6 percent in 1998, but up from 25.5 percent in 2000. In Division I, the figure fell from 18.9 percent in 1998 to 15.4 in 2002. The percentage of sports information directors who are women has basically held steady since 1994, around 12 percent over all three divisions.

In coaching, the study found that the overall percentage of women's teams' coaches who are female is 44 percent, the lowest since the project started in 1977, when 90 percent of women's teams were coached by a female. Men obtained 326 of the 361 head coaching jobs for women's teams--90 percent--that came open during the past two years. Today, about 2 percent of men's teams are coached by women, the same as 25 years ago.

Women are the head coaches of the majority of women's teams across all divisions in only seven of the 25 sports surveyed. These are basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, equestrian, softball, synchronized swimming, and volleyball. In women's soccer, only 31 percent of head coaches are women, in track and field, the figure is 19 percent.

In commentary accompanying the study data, Acosta and Carpenter say many factors may account for the disparity, "some of which are market based, some of which are probably based on discrimination and disparate recruitment, and some of which are based on the increased opportunities provided by Title IX in other professions."

Interestingly, the study seems to indicate that the athletic director's gender makes a difference in whether women's teams have female head coaches. Currently, 44 percent of head coaching jobs NCAA-wide are held by women, but in programs led by female athletic directors, 48 percent of head coaches are women. The difference is most pronounced in Division I, where the figures go from 44.4 percent to 53.4 percent when the athletic director is a woman.

In a separate interview, Carpenter offers reasons why the presence of a female athletic director increases the likelihood that women coaches will be hired. "There is better networking and there also is a greater sensitivity to the need for female role models for women, as well as a greater understanding of women's resumes, vitae, and experiences," she says.

Acosta and Carpenter also suggest that male athletic directors recruit differently for men's and women's coaches. "Frequently, when a new head coach is wanted for a men's team, the athletic director identifies the best coach and pays whatever it takes to get him on campus," they assert in the study's commentary. "The same athletic director will lament the absence of female applicants for a coach of a women's team but will not recruit the best one by paying what the market should require to have her come to the campus. Thus, there is no incentive for women to apply."

When it comes to athlete participation, the Acosta-Carpenter report states that the average number of women's teams per school is at an all-time high of 8.34, compared with 2 per school when Title IX was enacted in 1972, and 5.61 in 1978, when schools were expected to be in compliance. In just one year, 2001 to 2002, 118 women's teams were added.

Soccer has increased the most in 25 years, and is now on nearly 88 percent of campuses compared to only 2.8 percent in 1977. Basketball, volleyball, and soccer are the three most offered sports for women, followed by tennis, cross country, and softball.

A complete summary of the 2002 study is available by sending a No. 10 envelope with 80 cents postage affixed to Carpenter/Acosta, P.O. Box 42, West Brookfield, MA 01585.

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