Athletic Dept. Coaches Discuss Spending Issues

First Talks Since Gender Gap Report

Department of Athletics officials met with Harvard coaches yesterday morning to discuss last week's controversial disclosure that Harvard spends more than 85 percent more on men's athletics than on women's.

Maura Costin Scalise, coach of women's swimming, characterized the gathering, the first formal meeting of the athletic department since the report was issued, as "very, very good for both sides."

"I think all the coaches walked away and said it was a great meeting because [Director of Athletics William J. Cleary '56] was very fair towards both genders," Costin Scalise said.

"The direction towards equality comes from the top, and we know we have that direction here," she added.

In accordance with the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), athletics officials filed paperwork with the federal government detailing the operations of their department last year. The results of that report were disclosed amid controversy last Tuesday.


At yesterday's meeting, officials said the Crimson's spending gap was exaggerated by the format of the report.

"The Federal Register form was constructed so that each school was free to interpret it, and we felt that the way it was filled out made the discrepancy larger than it was," Costin Scalise said.

Costin Scalise and other women's coaches at the meeting said they appreciated the speedy and thorough explanation from the department.

"We wanted to see through the report and find out where their facts came from," Coach of Women's Basketball Kathy Delaney-Smith said. "It was a wonderful meeting so far as it was an honest and open dialogue about things that weren't clear to us."

Costin Scalise, who has become an unofficial spokesperson for the women's coaches, said the Department of Athletics is in the process of reevaluating its paperwork and would have a more conclusive report in about three weeks.

She added that the disparity in operating costs did not necessarily indicate women's coaches were being denied funding.

"At first, when the numbers came out, it looked like a big discrepancy, but we came to find out that the discrepancy resulted because people didn't know what to ask for," she said.

"[The meeting] was eye-opening because it showed us that there was a lot of money out there, and that, if anyone needs more money, they just need to ask for it," she added.

According to last week's report, much of the spending gap resulted from high "game management costs," of some men's sports, including football and hockey, for expenses such as ticket sales and collection, parking and security costs.

"There are certainly some sports that have a higher profile than others, which is not necessarily legitimate, but that's one thing that people could construe as a reason for them to get more money," Head Coach of Football Timothy L. Murphy said.

Delaney-Smith said meetings like yesterday's are important to improve communication in Harvard's decentralized athletic department.

"There were a lot of philosophical discussions, about policies, reorganization and just the growth of our department, much of which had nothing to do with gender, but only with really great communication," she said.

Costin Scalise said the next step would be for the department to assess the needs of all programs, both men's and women's, and to work to meet them individually.

"My feeling was that this was the beginning of something, not a one-shot deal," Delaney-Smith said. "I think we're headed in the right direction.

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