Survey: College ADs Say Revenue Sharing Would Make Title IX Compliance Difficult

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2021

Texas A&M guard Aaliyah Wilson, center, drives to the basket past Iowa State guard Lexi Donarski (21) during the first half of a college basketball game in the second round of the women's NCAA tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

In a survey distributed to 357 Division I athletic directors, the respondents overwhelmingly believe revenue sharing with athletes "would make it more difficult for their departments to comply with Title IX and provide equal opportunities to men and women," according to the Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo

The concerns come as more states are weighing legislation regarding an athlete's ability to be compensated for their name, image or likeness. Four senators also introduced the College Athletes Bill of Rights, would require revenue-generating sports to share 50 percent of the profit with the athletes in those sports.

Critics of the argument levied by the anonymous ADs would counter the current system isn't exactly equitable to begin with.

Oregon forward Sedona Prince shared a video comparing the weight rooms the NCAA had set up at the separate sites for the men's and women's basketball tournaments. Whereas the men had multiple machines and stations, the women had one weight set and yoga mats.

Sedona Prince @sedonaprince_

Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention https://t.co/t0DWKL2YHR

NBC Sports' Alex Azzi detailed how the discrepancies didn't stop there, with COVID-19 testing among the areas in which a clear gap separated the men and women's players.

While Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic noted the NCAA isn't specifically covered under Title IX, the situation has been an obvious example as to how women's sports often lacks the necessary institutional support.

A 2017 report by the NCAA to coincide with the 45th anniversary of Title IX also found "Division I athletics departments are spending twice as much on their men’s programs than on their women’s programs with the widest gap at the Football Bowl Division (FBS)":

"In 2015, Division I spent more on each male student-athlete than female student-athlete: over $45,000 more at FBS; $5,500 more at FCS; and $3,200 more at Division I institutions without football. In contrast, Division II and Division III show slightly higher expenditures for each female student-athlete, results affected by the male advantage in participation opportunities."

Title IX doesn't compel schools to match expenditures between men's and women's sports but rather that the two "receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation."

Proponents of NIL legislation argue female athletes would benefit greatly because they'd get to capitalize at a time when their popularity is often at its zenith.

Kendall Baker @TheKendallBaker

If athletes could monetize their NIL rights, the top women's players in this year's Elite Eight would have greater earning power than the men. Among the Elite Eight teams, eight of the 10 most-followed players on IG and Twitter are women. Estimated earnings via @opendorse https://t.co/ShAufOa9AP

ESPN The Magazine's Elizabeth Merrill detailed in 2016 how the top women's basketball players often struggled to attract the attention they generated in college upon moving to the WNBA.

During oral arguments to the Supreme Court Wednesday in NCAA v. Alston, a case challenging the NCAA's amateurism model, Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked the NCAA's lawyer, Seth Waxman, about the impact on Title IX compliance and women's sports if the court rules against the NCAA:

Jon Solomon @JonSolomonAspen

Justice Barrett asks the impact would be on Title IX and women's sports if the Supreme Court rules against NCAA. Waxman said schools would still have to follow Title IX but suggests schools would reduce the number of non-revenue sports (men's and women's).

Sen. Chris Murphy, who is among those pushing NIL legislation in Congress, downplayed what he thinks the net effect will be.

"College sports revenues have exploded exponentially in the last 15 years, but none of that money has gone to the actual players," Murphy said to the AP. "To act like the sky will fall if athletes receive a fair share of the money their labor produces is downright disingenuous and fails to acknowledge the major civil rights inequities inherent in the industry."