July 10, 2020

Underpaid or Underperforming? A look at the current state of Capital athletics

With the selection of a new athletic director eminent, Capital’s athletic department is at a crossroads between failing programs and a thin coaching staff receiving inadequate compensation.

Athletic Performance

On the men’s side of athletics, both the basketball and football program have struggled to produce winning seasons. Men’s basketball hasn’t finished a season above .500 since the 2012-13 season, with a record of 45-59 over the last four seasons.

The football program is in a similar situation. With five consecutive losing seasons and numerous coaching changes, improvement has proven to be difficult.

While several of the women’s teams have historically been competitive in the conference and at the national level, even they have been subjected to difficult seasons as of late. The women’s basketball program is coming off of a disappointing 11-17 season following an outstanding 20-7 record during the 2015-16 season.

Capital’s volleyball program has been subjected to several coaching changes in the past few years, with virtually no improvement. Over the past three seasons, the volleyball program has put together a record of 23-65.

Coaching Staff

Aside from the frequent coaching changes, a lack of staff can be attributed to the cause of the poor performance from several of the sports programs. Among Division III athletic programs in Ohio with similar enrollment rates, Capital is tied with Oberlin and Otterbein for the fewest total number of head coaches on men and women’s teams for the 2015-16 season at 8 each.

This demonstrates an issue with turnover rates in the athletic department and an inability to hire long-term staff. Among all of the head coaches in Capital’s athletic department, none are assigned to their team on a full-time basis.

Head Coach Salaries

For most collegiate coaches, Division III programs serve as an opportunity to improve their coaching abilities and build their professional resume. This is partly due to the fact that many head coaches in Division III programs are paid very little, and assistant coaches are paid next to nothing.

According to Equity in Athletics Data Analysis (EADA), in 2015 an average men’s team head coach at Capital made a little over $38,000, with women’s team head coaches averaging about $36,000. Among 62 Division III athletic programs with similar enrollment, Capital’s average salaries for head coaches of both men and women’s teams rank them #29 and #20 respectively. Compare these salaries to those of programs at places like Oberlin College or Wesleyan University where coaches average over $50,000, and it’s clear why maintaining coaching staff can be difficult.


Assistant Coach Salaries

The most surprising statistic however, is the salary of assistant coaches at Capital. According to reports from the EADA, assistant coaches on men’s teams averaged just over $8,300 between 2003 and 2015. The same report shows that assistant coaches on the women’s teams averaged about $4,200. Between recruiting, practice, and games/matches, assistant coaches spend almost the same if not an equal amount of time working with their teams as head coaches do. These salaries are not representative of the time and effort assistant coaches dedicate to their respective teams.

The numbers don’t add up

Perhaps the most disappointing statistic is the continuous increase in revenue from both men’s and women’s teams. EADA reports show that total revenue from the men’s and women’s teams have continuously increased almost every year since 2003, with 2015 bringing in the highest revenue in the past 15 years. So if the revenue continues to increase, why have salaries for both head coaches and assistant coaches remained almost stagnant? It’s time Capital pay our coaches for the work they do.

Full report.

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