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On the Basis of Sex

29 December 2014

Let’s dive right back in to the bizarro situation with tUMD women’s hockey. (Other stuff of mine on this subject.)

I don’t know if tUMD and the athletic department anticipated the level of backlash they’d receive for firing not renewing the contract of Coach Miller. I’m sure they anticipated she’d be furious and raise hell, and that boosters and donors to the program would be upset, but I doubt the anticipated a New York Times story and a heck of a lot of other media coverage that makes tUMD look absolutely terrible (other than a whiny rant from Schlossman about how Miller is a big cheating cheater who is mean, and how 6th place UND has left tUMD in the dust). tUMD has lost control of the narrative at this point, and I’m not sure what they can do to try to repair the PR damage they’ve suffered. Folks are quick to tell me “If you only knew X” or “When people find out Z, they’ll feel foolish,” but it’s too late for tUMD to go on the offensive. Folks are also assuming Miller’s supporters don’t know X or Z, and while many of them don’t, some of them do.

I’m not going to spend much time on the recent op-ed post from Butch Williams about how tUMD should focus solely on recruiting local players, even at the expense of winning. It’s a ridiculous argument, but it’s one that’s been made about both the men’s and the women’s teams. tUMD hockey is not here as a charity for Arrowhead hockey players.

I do want to talk about salaries. I find it interesting that so many people rush to say Coach Miller was overpaid. It’s somehow a tragedy that she at one time made more money than Sandy, and currently makes more than Brad Frost.

Why doesn’t anyone ask if most women’s hockey coaches are underpaid?

I’m sure that’s a preposterous statement to most people. Non-revenue sport! No one cares! They all suck anyway! Yes, yes, I’ve heard all of that. I also understand that coaches aren’t there to market their team. They are there to create the most marketable product possible, of course, by recruiting excellent players and by winning games.

Folks are also scratching their heads over whether or not this is a Title IX issue. Of course, many of those people are the same people who argue that Title IX is unnecessary and *gasp* harms the much more important men’s sports, and women have equality anyway and should just shut up. (These same people probably think that #BlackLivesMatter is racist against whites, too.) Others, of course, argue that Title IX applies to student-athletes, not to coaches.

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.

Is paying women’s coaches less than men’s coaches a Title IX violation? It might be. I do know that if tUMD goes from a woman who has spent 16 years with the program and has 5 national titles, but makes $200k, to a coach with a lesser resume who makes $90k (since they’ll be looking at “recent WCHA hires” to determine salary), tUMD women’s hockey student athletes won’t be getting the best coaching out there. Prioritizing savings over success for the women’s team while prioritizing success for the men’s team is denying women’s players the benefits of playing college hockey.

I don’t like to drag Sandy into this conversation because I like him and have no problem with how much he is paid. In fact, I wrote a letter to the Chancellor encouraging him to pay Sandy and his assistants more money because I was led to believe that Sandy wasn’t going to stay at tUMD because the university wouldn’t pay the assistant coaches enough. I’m not advocating cutting his pay as some kind of tit-for-tat measure. I don’t like that Sandy is set up as some kind of foil or nemesis of Miller’s (sometimes by her).

However, I do agree with Coach Miller when she says Sandelin is her peer. He is. They are the two D-1 coaches at tUMD. Sandy is Miller’s peer, just like Johnson is Eaves’s, Frost is Lucia’s, and Idalski is Hakstol’s. Is it discriminatory that Hakstol makes more than Idalski? Yes and no. Idalski is newer to the program and hasn’t had the level of success Hakstol has (but the same number of national titles!!!), so he should make less. However, if Idalski had Hak’s credentials and Hak had Idalski’s, Hak would still be making more.  When If Eaves gets fired, Mark Johnson will be the longer-tenured coach at UW with four national titles (maybe 5 by then, who knows?) Ol’ Barry will hire an excellent coach, certainly, but he won’t be hiring someone with 4 national titles and an 0.814 winning percentage. (Unless he hires Mark Johnson, but I believe that ship has sailed.) Of the potential vultures candidates circling considering that job, only Gwoz (!!! Gwoz!!!!) is even close to that level of success. But the new men’s coach will probably make double what Johnson makes, despite Johnson’s impressive level of success and length of tenure with the university. The Title IX issue here, you see, isn’t about paying female coaches less than male coaches (it’s an issue, yes, but beyond the scope of this post.) It’s about paying coaches of women’s teams less than coaches of men’s teams, to do the exact same job.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 December 2014 6:13 pm

    I am not sure that I agree that a person who runs an inherently slower, smaller, less talented team in front of relatively small crowds and very little TV exposure is truly a peer of a person who runs a more talented team that plays in front of significantly larger crowds and TV audiences.

    The definition of peer that applies most closely to what you are describing is ‘one that is of equal standing with another’. Yes they are both D1 coaches of hockey, but because of the many differences between men’s and women’s NCAA hockey at this point in time that seems to be about it for ‘equal standing’.

    As far as being the exact same job, it is the exact same job in name only. …Does the Alabama-Huntsville coach have the same job as Dave Hakstol? Tell me they do.

    • 29 December 2014 6:41 pm

      So you’re saying Mike Corbett and Dave Hakstol are not peers? They are peers.
      And certainly, a coaching job with TV exposure and larger crowds is much easier! Recruitment is significantly more challenging for coaches who have less exposure and who have to dig deeper to find the right players. I agree with you there, as clearly that was your point.

      • 30 December 2014 7:41 am

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. I was tempted to say ‘apparently great minds don’t think alike’, but then I had an epiphany – you are leagues smarter than the rest of us. Thank you for the learning experience. Really an enlightening experience to learn the truth here…

      • 30 December 2014 10:11 am

        It truly is best when people recognize my greatness and submit. All souls can find enlightenment within these pages.

  2. Equity Comment permalink
    29 December 2014 6:17 pm

    Click to access GEOM11.pdf

    Chapter 5

    • 29 December 2014 6:42 pm

      Comments don’t usually come with homework assignments, so this is a first! Please elaborate.

  3. Equity Comment permalink
    29 December 2014 6:56 pm

    Chapter 5 of this NCAA publication talks about coaching and compensation. May shed some light on whether this is a Title IX case, and also is related to Charlie’s point about whether the responsibilities are the same.

    One of the authors, Janet Judge, is a noted attorney and expert in the area of gender equity.

    • 29 December 2014 7:10 pm

      Another way to shed some light on whether this is a Title IX case, and as to whether the responsibilities are the same, would be to tell us what you read and how you interpret it.

    • Dirty permalink
      29 December 2014 7:12 pm

      Do you have a link to the audiobook of this? Or the Amazon Kindle link? Thanks!

    • 29 December 2014 7:17 pm

      I couldn’t wait for your answer, so I read it. It looks to me like the answer is yes, there are Title IX issues at tUMD, and yes, the responsibilities are equal (as are Hakstol’s and Corbett’s).

      • Equity Comment permalink
        29 December 2014 7:43 pm

        Maybe. As noted in the publication, there are a wise variety of reasons for pay differences and cases have been decided based on the specific facts presented. Not sure anyone engaged in the public debate here has all those facts.

      • 7 January 2015 9:31 pm

        Shocking. Just shocking you would come to that conclusion. Nothing will ever surprise me again…

  4. Equity Comment permalink
    29 December 2014 7:43 pm

    Meant “wide” rather than “wise”…sorry.

    • 29 December 2014 8:03 pm

      First you send me down a Title IX rabbit hole, then you make a typo? UNACCEPTABLE.
      Thank you. Even though I had put forth effort, which I don’t like to do.

  5. Dirty permalink
    30 December 2014 2:18 pm

    Still waiting for my audio book. Or at least the Kindle version. Thanks.

    • jcieluch permalink
      31 December 2014 6:18 am

      If not an adio book how about a stuggling college student to read it to me as I lay in bed. I may be willing to pay a fair wage in compairison to their peers.


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