It is a well-known assertion that coaches of women's teams generally earn a lower salary than coaches of men's teams. This cannot be more true at colleges such as Kansas State. While Deb Patterson earned $596,016, her male counterpart Frank Martin took home twice as much–$1.4 million. This is common throughout the country, with the rare exception of coaches of iconic women's teams, such as Tennessee's Pat Summitt and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma, who both earned up to $1.5 million.
The Equal Pay Act of 1983 requires employers to pay their male and female employees the same amount for the same work. However, many employers find ways to maneuver around this law. While the base salary for men and women coaches are relatively similar, the drastic difference comes from funds from third-parties, such as partnering apparel companies or university athletic associations. These funds are not under the same regulations as university-based funds, and are used to pay coaches for items described in contracts as supplements, talent fees or appearance fees.
Significant differences also occur from summer camp revenue and bonuses. Summer camps can produce up to six figure earnings for men's basketball coaches, while women's coaches aim to break even. Additionally, contracts may not have similar regulations regarding academic performance. According to lawyers who deal with contracts, athletic directors often assume that women's players will be better students. Consequentially, Kansas State's Coach Martin can earn up to $75,000 annually depending on his players' academic performance. However, Patterson does not have this kind of arrangement.
Men who coach women's teams are not protected under the Equal Pay Act. Kentucky's men and women's basketball teams made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, but John Calipari earned a $100,000 bonus while its women's' coach Matthew Mitchell was paid $40,000.
Another reason given as to why women's coaches are mostly paid less is because men's programs tend to be more profitable. Universities often use this as a defense when accused of sex discrimination concerning coaches' salaries. However, this can only be a successful defense if universities can prove that they support both programs equally with funds for advertisement, support staff and promotional and speaking events.
The number of women's teams have been increasing since 1978, from 466 teams to 1,049 in 2012. Despite this, statistics show that the number of women coaches of women's teams have been declining. A study conducted by R. Vivian Acosta and Linda Jean Carpenter showed that in 1978, 79.4 percent of women’s college basketball teams were coached by women. However, only 57 percent of women’s college basketball teams were coached by women in 2010. This decline may prove to be problematic.
"If your idea of what sports is about is provided only through the lens of a male, then you're only getting one perspective," said Jeffrey Gerson, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who spent two years researching the declining number of coaches in college ice hockey, tennis and other sports. "And there's something special about a female athlete having a female coach, because they've been in your shoes."