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Harvard Athletics Budget Released

By E. Benjamin Samuels, Crimson Staff Writer

Despite fielding more varsity programs than any other school in the nation, the Harvard Department of Athletics had the second-lowest expenses of any Ivy League school last year, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education.

The Department of Athletics spent just under $18 million to support its teams, according to the OPE’s report, which makes public an overview of the Athletic Department’s financial information between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010.

The data, released in accordance with a 1994 piece of Title IX legislation called the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, includes the number of participants in varsity programs, recruiting costs, and average salaries for coaches.

According to the report, Yale outspent other Ivy League athletic departments with a total budget of about $36 million. Brown spent the lowest among the Ancient Eight, spending a little more than $15 million.

That school is currently considering reducing its number of varsity sports programs, according to the Brown Daily Herald.

At Harvard, the Athletics Department spent $257,000 on the football team, more than any other single-sex team. The University covered $438,050 in expenses for both men’s and women’s crew programs according to the report, more than any other sport in the Department.

Harvard’s 35 head coaches earned an average of $77,657 last year. According to the report, head coaches for men’s teams make, on average, $21,000 more per year than coaches for women’s teams. Head coaches for men’s squads earned an average of $87,901 last year, and their counterparts on women’s teams earned an average of $66,811.

The same discrepancy exists among assistant coaches, though the difference is not as great. The average assistant coach on a men’s team earns $38,751. On women’s teams, their equivalent coaches make an average of $30,197.

Five of the 43 assistant coaches on men’s teams at Harvard are female, according to the OPE. No head coach on a men’s team is female, though women very rarely coach men’s teams across the NCAA. The report does not break down its coach compensation information sport-by-sport.

Football and men’s basketball are the only two sports with multiple full-time assistant coaches at Harvard. But the two sports are the largest college sports by a wide margin—both in terms of fan support and the money that they draw—and the larger coaching staff is consistent with popular NCAA practice.

A number of other teams have multiple assistant coaches that work on a part-time basis, the report indicates.

Another major athletic expenditure, according to the OPE, are recruiting costs. Harvard spent about $860,000 on recruiting in 2009-10, including $633,453 for men’s teams and $225,912 for women’s teams.

Harvard’s recruiting costs are the third highest of any Ivy program. Only Princeton and Columbia spend more, and the latter program is the only one in the Ancient Eight to spend over $1 million on recruiting.

Despite spending nearly $20 million on its teams annually, funding from Harvard’s Department of Athletics does not cover individual programs’ entire costs, according to softball coach Jenny Allard.

For instance, Harvard only covers travel costs for the softball program in the Northeast, Allard said in an interview earlier this year. But the team must seek out alternative funding for its pre-season roadtrips.

“[These trips are] the thing that we have to fundraise for, do clinics for, [and] solicit donations [for], and those are the things where we look [to] save money,” she said.

While she did not offer the budgetary breakdown, she said that the team draws financial supports from its “friends group.” Most Harvard programs have similar groups, largely comprising alumni who help fund various efforts and activities.

She added that the softball program fundraises during its roadtrips. While the team does what it can to save, she said the funding from the Athletics Department is crucial.

“There is no way we would tolerate not being able to be a competitive team in the Northeast region,” she said.

Director of Athletics Robert L. Scalise did not return requests for comment on the OPE report or on the financial direction of the department.

—Staff writer E. Benjamin Samuels can be reached at

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