If colleges and universities provide scholarships to student athletes, they must do so on a basis substantially proportional to the numbers of male and female athletes at the school. For example, if 53% of athletes are male, only 52-54% of scholarship money should go to male athletes. Although secondary schools rarely offer athletic scholarships, they must provide similar help to male and female students in securing athletic scholarships for college. To determine your school’s compliance:
1. Calculate the percentages of male and female athletes at your school.
Count the total number of female athletes and divide by the total number of athletes at the school; do the same for male athletes. Count each individual only once even if she competes for more than one team.
2. Determine the proportion of financial aid provided to male and female athletes.
Find out the total dollar amount of scholarship money given to female athletes (you can check with the athletic department) and divide by the total dollar amount of athletic scholarship money provided to student athletes; do the same for male athletes. Note: It is important to find the total dollar amount, not simply the number of scholarships given, because male athletes often receive higher dollar amounts even if the total number of scholarships given is proportional.
3. Compare the results.
The proportion of scholarship money given to female athletes should be within approximately ± 1% of the proportion of female athletes at the school. For example, if females are 44% of the athletes at the school, the proportion of scholarship money awarded to female athletes should be between 43-45%. Also, male and female athletes should receive a proportionate amount of non-grant assistance, such as work-study opportunities.
Although a school may have some justifiable reason for disparities in scholarship awards (for example, a college may coincidentally have more out-of-state male athletes who require more financial aid, or it may make reasonable choices for program development), there is often no excuse for disproportionate awards. NONE of the following reasons can be used as an excuse to offer less financial assistance to female athletes:
- Revenue-producing capabilities of certain teams
- Sources of funds (e.g., booster club funds or alumni donations)
- Athletic association rules
- Differing levels of spectator interest or community and student support
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