Monday, October 28, 2019

There’s a $1.5M difference between average head coaching salaries for men’s, women’s teams at KU, report shows

Kansas volleyball head coach Ray Bechard talks with his team before practice at the new Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.

Kansas volleyball head coach Ray Bechard talks with his team before practice at the new Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.


According to KU's annual Equity in Athletics report, at the University of Kansas the average salary of head coaching positions of men’s teams is over $1.5 million more than that of the head coaches of women’s teams.

The report, which was due Oct. 15 to the NCAA, was recently requested and acquired by the Journal-World. The report also notes that women's teams, in contrast to men's, lose millions of dollars a year.

The average annual institutional salary for head coaches of the men’s teams at KU, of which there are five, is $1,711,827. For the head coaches of female teams, of which there are nine, the average annual salary is $195,164.

The steep average salary for the head coaches of men's teams at KU is heavily affected by men's basketball coach Bill Self, who, according to USA Today, made $4,954,877 in 2018, and Les Miles, who makes $2,775,000 a year as the football coach.

“Coaching salaries are market-driven throughout Power 5 conferences across the country,” Dan Beckler, spokesman for KU Athletics, said in an email. “Salaries for our coaches are reflective of comparable markets, and we routinely review salaries on an annual basis.”

While head coaches of women’s teams make drastically less than head coaches of men’s teams, women’s teams have consistently been costing the university.

This year, the revenue loss from women’s teams was $17,146,244. And for the past three years, the loss to the university from women’s teams was in the $15 million range. According to reports from previous years, which are available on KU Athletics’ website, the grand total revenues for the combined men’s and women’s programs have remained in the positive for the past four years, despite major losses in revenue from women’s teams. This year, the grand total revenue was $3,414,918.

“Historically, in college sports, the highest revenue-producing sports are football and men’s basketball; that trend is reflected at Kansas as well,” Beckler said. “Regardless of revenue, our men’s and women’s teams have access to resources and training that allow them to compete and be successful in the classroom, on their field of play and to prepare them for their future.”

Men’s teams at KU include baseball, basketball, football, golf and the combined track and field and cross country teams. Women’s teams include basketball, golf, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and cross country and volleyball.

Beckler also said that the Big 12 Conference recently became the second conference to obtain group membership to WeCoach, which is dedicated to recruiting, advancing and retaining female coaches of all sports and levels.

Other findings from the report:

• The overall participant number for men’s teams is 315. For women’s teams, it’s 339. (Women's basketball, however, includes 13 male participants on the practice squad.)

• No women are the head coaches of men’s teams at KU. For women’s teams, three out of the nine head coaching positions are held by women.

• 53% of athletically related student aid goes to men’s teams; 47% goes to women’s teams.

• For men’s teams, recruiting expenses are $1,713,511; for women's teams, $582,297.

• Compared with reports from previous years, the numbers are largely similar.


Dirk Medema 3 years, 1 month ago

Averages are ignorance for the masses.

The salaries for Self and Miles are significantly less their peers. They are also statistical outliers that should be thrown out of any serious statistical analysis. Are those the only revenue positive programs?

A better analysis would be to compare the non-revenue generating sports. Guessing those are much more similar, though not as headline worthy.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 1 month ago

by my calculations the average of the other three men's head coaches (baseball, golf, track/cross-country) is $278,000.

Just a guess but I'd guess that the baseball skipper probably earns a good deal better than the other two being that baseball is a much higher profile job than golf, track, and cc.

The women's team HC salaries are inevitably skewed lower by the large number of low profile women's sports included in the KU Athletics Dept. It would be absurd to expect that the womens' golf, rowing, swimming, diving, tennis, track/cc, would all earn competitive salaries to the men's football, basketball and baseball coaches even if all of those programs were perennial national title contenders. However, if the women's bball, soccer, softball, or volleyball programs were routinely ranked in the nation's top 10 then I would certainly expect that we would pay more to in order to retain those coaches, and it likely would be worthwhile to do so considering fan interest (tickets, memorabilia, marketing) would spike if those teams were competing for championships.

John Strayer 3 years, 1 month ago

Shows the absurdity of Title IV...big time sports schools have to heavily invest in football and basketball assets and resources just drive the revenue needed to attempt to equally support women's and non-revenue sports...which only further causes even greater gaps. Are women's sports truly better off now? I guess you can't focus on spending to make that determination.

Joe Black 3 years, 1 month ago

Title IV has already hurt the men's teams. As the article stated, there are only 5 men's teams and 9 women's team. If you go by the KU Athletics site there are 6 men's teams (Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Track & Field) while there are ten women's teams(Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Rowing, Soccer, Softball, Swim & Dive, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball). Because of Title IV, KU dropped men's tennis and men's soccer. How does that help anyone?

Joe Ross 3 years, 1 month ago


Great way to try to spin an article into a sexism allegation. Well done.

Point 1- If Kansas didn't attract high caliber coaches for the two greatest revenue generating sports (mens football and mens basketball), the loss of revenue by the womens' sports would be unmitigated, and our ability to play any sport would be greatly compromised. Certainly our competitiveness would be, and this would harm enrollment, as sports is a major driver for academic matriculation at any university. To attract these high caliber coaches, salaries have to be offered that are comparable to what other coaches are being paid (i.e., they have to be paid their "market value"), and Kansas does NOT set this number.

Point 2- If you omit the two big payouts, then the disparity between mens and womens coaches is reduced from about 1,500,000 average difference to only 80,000. Nice omission by not stating that expressly! Your answer may be, "Well there's still a difference! Yes, but probably proportional yet to the revenue and loss of revenue when comparing men's and women's athletics. Way to omit that as well.

Point 3- More money is spent on recruiting for the revenue generating sports than the non-revenue generating sports. This isn't just true of the men's programs vs. the women's. It is also true within the mens' programs themselves. More money gets spent on recruiting in basketball and football than in baseball, for example. This is not sexist.

Point 4- As far as no women coaching mens' sports lets, for the sake of quotas, replace Les Miles and Bill Self with tokens to satiate your misgivings. But let's not be surprised when the lack of experience at that level tanks the revenue generating sports and insodoing hinders women's athletics as well. Smart move.

Point 5- Most of the disparity in numbers can be attributed to mens' football and basketball being the revenue generating sports, as argued in earlier points.

Stop with the sexism claims already. There's none of that here. You quote yourself that Kansas pays a much higher cost in supporting women's sports than the revenue generated to the tune of millions of dollars. Womens programs are therefore the disproportionate beneficiaries, because they take much more than they put in!

And you're trying to spin this as unfair!

You ought to be ashamed of yourself, and surrender any journalistic credentials you have.

Joe Black 3 years, 1 month ago

I'd give you more thumbs up if they were available. Very nice response to an absurd article.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 1 month ago


I don't read any claims of sexism in the article. But I do agree that the data are presented in a manner that would lend itself to a suggestion that the women's sports are not getting "fair pay". It seems to almost allude to the gender pay gap debate in the way that it's written.

I do give this writer the benefit of the doubt in that she was only reporting on facts and not providing her own analysis or commentary.

To her credit she did get comments from Mr. Beckler regarding market values and revenue sports vs. non-revenue sports. She also included that 6 our of 9 of the womens' programs are in fact coached by men (which could be it's own debate regardless of the pay gap).

At first reading I did perceive a suggestion that womens' sports were being treated unfairly, however upon reconsideration it does seem that she reported on the data and provided some relevant facts and comments to help the reader process the data.

I don't think that she out to be forced out of the news writing business.

Also, I would add that I am not stating a position in the debate of whether women in America are paid fairly compared to men because I simply have not seen enough information either way to have confidence in an opinion. Though in my experience of over 12 years I don't believe that I've witnessed any evidence to suggest unfair treatment of women, however, there are many people in authority in our country who would suggest that as a white male I have no right to an opinion on any topic of discrimination.

Joe Ross 3 years, 1 month ago

She did get quotes and has presented numbers, yes. But it's their presentation, you see, that implies sexism. That's evident on a plain reading of both the headline and the body of the article. We seem to agree on that based on what you say in your first paragraph. With respect to reporting on facts, I would suggest to you quite humbly that both what is quoted and what is NOT quoted have import here. For example, she does not quote the number of the pay gap in average salary without the salaries of coaches in the revenue generating sports. Nor does she offer any reason as to why it might be the case. She presents neither the FACT that women are disproportionate beneficiaries as I pointed out, nor the FACT that using the same numbers she quotes, one could have written an entire article based on the premise that there is some patent discrimination (or unfairness, if that word suits one better) within mens' sports! The latter is true because of the disparity in mens' revenue-generating sports vs. mens' non-revenue generating sports. These are FACTS, as well, and NOT mentioning them in an article of this nature is inflammatory by omission.

We disagree with respect to your last point, but we can do so respectfully. From my vantage point, any "journalist" willing to not shed light on the totality of an issue so as to present it in a way that is self-serving/suits an agenda/what have you is not worthy of their credentials. There is already too much of that going on in America. What a boon for American journalism it would be to simply report news in an unbiased way. But again, happy to respectfully disagree...

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Jonathan here...thumbs up button seemed too impersonal

Micky Baker 3 years, 1 month ago

The article has no other purpose than to imply sexism, because it isn't news at all.

Micky Baker 3 years, 1 month ago

Joe, excellent response. The main driver for more money being spent recruiting in football, 25 or more players are sought, even if we can only sign 25. And yes, if Les Miles turns this ship around, I'd be okay upping his pay by a lot. With that said, if KU starts winning in football, it will be a big recruiting tool for both men and women's sports.

Joe Black 3 years, 1 month ago

How many millions of dollars difference are there in revenue??

Jerry Ryan 3 years, 1 month ago

What Joe said... over and over and over and over again. Hack “journalist” with an agenda. That’s what “journalism” and “media” have become.

Thomas Wagner 3 years, 1 month ago

Here is what I took out of the article -

Why is Women's Basketball claiming 13 scholarships?

Title IX want's equal opportunity, so therefore there should be between 11 and 24 additional scholorships available for men's programs.

Bring back Men's Wrestling, Men's Tennis, Men's Soccer or better yet - offer full scholarships for Men's Baseball.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 1 month ago

Wow! And I thought I was being harsh.

After reading a little I did have to go back and check who the author was. Initially thought it might be Chad, the master of negative spin, or the ghost of writers departed. To your credit Lauren, you did provide far more reality than either of those combined.

Assuming rounding, Jonathon’s math is accurate. Again rounding, there’s an $80k difference in non-revenue salaries which is 40%. Jonathon also brings up the question of other factors that could come into play and you could probably analyze it as nauseam. I question that KU is different from the rest of the marketplace. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it right though I also don’t how to make it right.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 1 month ago

To say that it needs to be made right, suggests that you believe that there is something wrong with the way that it is.

What would you say is wrong? We pay a fair market value for our coaches. The sports that provide the most value to our institution happen to the sports that cost the most money to remain competitive.

These sports pay for the other sports. Therefore paying fair market value for our basketball and football programs is really an investment that pays dividends into every other program that the department offers.

Now I understand that $195,000 being the average salary for a women's coach at KU, means that most of the women's coaches are making less than that. But honestly $150,000/yr is a great paying job.

Jerry Walker 3 years, 1 month ago

Ye gods...$17MM to provide women's sports!

Dane Pratt 3 years, 1 month ago

If this story gets your panties in a bunch you should avoid reading newspapers.

Bob Zielinski 3 years, 1 month ago

What we really need is 3 or 4 additional sports teams that can only have transgender or gender fluid players and hire either a man or woman to be the head coach and see how much money they make and how much those sports earn or lose in revenue. Put that into the equation and really open up this conversation into what it should be.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 1 month ago

Jonathon - I agree with you that KU is not the problem. I agree that we are appropriately operating within the Existing marketplace. I also agree that the revenue sports have to be eliminated from the equation to get a valid analysis.

The problem is that big chunks of the marketplace have gender discrimination in pay. If 2 people do the same work, they should receive the same pay, and that doesn’t happen consistently. KU isn’t going to fix gender pay discrimination and maybe there are other factors beyond revenue vs nonrevenue that aren’t being considered. That doesn’t change the fact that gender pay discrimination exists.

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the response.

I am not suggesting that there is not gender discrimination in pay, because I honestly don't know whether there is or isn't.

But in this article I don't see any evidence of gender discrimination. I do wonder why 6 of the 9 women's teams are coached by men. How many female coaches applied for and were interviewed for the head coaching jobs as opposed to men?

What do the three female women's coaches make compared to their 6 male women's coaching counterparts?

Also I know that she no longer works for KU, but how much does Hudy make? Does she get paid fairly compared to the men in her profession?

I could be wrong, but my instincts tell me that the gender pay gap issue is very complicated and very hard to set up an apples to apples comparison in order to know how significantly gender impacts pay, if it does.

I'm no economist, but I am of the opinion that a free market economy does not discriminate based on gender, but only on demand and supply. In the sports industry, supply is mostly a fixed value, and consumer demand drives prices. Consumer demand is why NBA players get paid 100X more than WNBA players and why I used to be able to go watch a Houston Astros game for $7 and right now it costs $700.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.