EADA Data

As many of you know my daughter played DIII volleyball for four years starting in 2013. There were a lot of factors that went into choosing a school and a volleyball program. Things like the coach, the cost, the team, the location, the cost, the available majors, the student/professor ratios and, of course, the cost. But, honestly, at no time did we ever really consider the financial commitment by the school towards the volleyball program. The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) allows for prospective students to get this information but we never knew it even existed. What is the EADA? The 2015 User’s Manual states, “The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) was designed to make prospective students and prospective student-athletes aware of an institution of higher education’s commitment to providing equitable athletic opportunities for its men and women students. The EADA requires the disclosure of information about varsity teams and the financial resources and personnel that the school dedicates to those teams.”

So, the EADA data will show you not only the resources that are put into the program but also the number of coaches and the number of student-athletes that participate on a per school basis. A while back a coach had mentioned that this data was out there but it always sounded like a rainbow unicorn to me. He was specifically interested in coaches’ salaries, which aren’t specifically spelled out in the data but can be inferred. I don’t know if you have a grasp of what coaches make but I always assumed it was in the neighborhood of “not enough” to “buddy, can you spare a dime”. This post will certainly touch on salaries but that’s not my focus. I really just wanted to go through the data and see which schools were putting their best monetary foot forward with their volleyball programs. I was also curious about the travel expenses of the West Region teams. One of the more recent soapbox issues for me has been for our region to properly schedule based on their team’s ability and this should include at least one out-of-region tournament. This, of course, becomes difficult if the budget doesn’t allow for such an expense.

To start with, you should know how to find the EADA data. You can click here to gain access to the data. That’s right, the rainbow unicorn has a URL and a nifty web-based tool that allows you to look at and compare schools. You can also download all of the data for all of the schools in the nation, which is what I did. Based on some dime-novel detective work by yours truly I was able to determine the online data is for the 2016 season. (Note – Mills College did not have any data recorded.)

Since I pulled down all of the schools across all of the divisions, I was curious who the big spenders were. For the DI schools, the teams spending the most money for women’s volleyball in 2016 were:

  1. Texas at $3,987,695
  2. Nebraska at $3,046,615
  3. Minnesota at $2,771,386

It appears the DI school that puts the least into their volleyball program was Mississippi Valley State at $164,050. Just remember that when people tell you that DI is always better than DII or DIII.

For the DII schools, the top teams were:

  1. University of Findlay at $903,505
  2. Alaska Anchorage at $690,758
  3. UC-San Diego at $620,705

Kind of a big drop there but understand that those amounts were still larger than a number of DI programs. (Trivia item – What team holds the second most DIII volleyball national titles after Washington-St. Louis? Answer – They are #3 on the DII list above.)

For the DIII schools, our top five teams were:

  1. Washington-St. Louis at $323,501
  2. New York University at $298,856
  3. UW-Oshkosh at $296,990*
  4. Colorado College at 256,760
  5. California Lutheran at $252,605

* We can now all understand how Oshkosh can afford the services of Ricky Nelson. (He’s going to chime in on the comments and say something like he doesn’t make any money. Don’t believe him! Numbers don’t lie!)

Our top teams spend around 10% of the top D1 programs. All very interesting but not at all surprising. Staying on the top spending schools, let’s just focus on the West Region for a bit. Here are our top five teams:

  1. Colorado College
  2. California Lutheran
  3. UT-Dallas ($228,647)
  4. Southwestern ($195,049)
  5. Pacific ($192,898)

Each of the four conferences are represented! I should probably point out that two of these schools – Cal Lutheran and Pacific – are the only two West Region institutions that support a JV program and those numbers are rolled into the EADA data. I know you are wondering which schools are at the other end of this so here are the bottom five:

  1. Sul Ross State ($59,912)
  2. Whittier College ($71,290)
  3. Centenary College ($72,419)
  4. Schreiner ($79,754)
  5. LeTourneau ($88,801)

The lowest spending NWC team was George Fox at $97,483. Stepping back a bit to absorb these numbers and four of these five teams are consistently at the bottom of their conferences. The exception is Whittier who had a 19-10 season the year prior to these numbers and would go on to make the NCAA Tournament in 2017. I don’t want to tell any Directors of Athletics how to do their job but you may want to check out Whittier’s Coach Chris Duarte-McDermott if a job opening comes up. The small extra expense for having to stuff all of those letters on his nameplate should be overcome by his proven ability to do more with less.

Diving deeper into the numbers, there are two totals that are interesting in the EADA data – Operating Expense per Team (Women) and Expense Women All. The numbers above are all from Expense Women All (or Total Expense) and this includes all expenses attributed to the athletic activity; in this case their women’s volleyball team. The Operating Expense per Team number includes all expenses an institute incurs attributed to the volleyball matches (i.e., “game day expenses”). To be clearer, the operating expense includes lodging, meals, transportation, uniforms, equipment and the cost of the officials. The Total Expense includes the Operating Expense and anything else required to support the volleyball team. For the DI programs, this includes athletic scholarships. The interesting items for the DIII programs that are included in the Total Expense are practice equipment, fundraising activities, promotional activities, recruiting expenses and salaries. Because travel is rolled into the Operating Expense, let’s take a look at the West Region teams that spend the most in this area:

  1. California Lutheran at $92,792
  2. Colorado College at $88,455
  3. Trinity at $80,064
  4. Southwestern at $77,899
  5. Austin College at $72,555

Cal Lutheran’s inclusion at #1 is interesting because they only took one trip that year but did fly to Northwestern for their regional. (The NCAA pays the travel during the NCAA but I have to believe extra expenses are also incurred by the schools.) Again, their JV operating expenses would be rolled into this number, too. I would expect Colorado College to be an annual leader in this expense due to the amount of travel they have to do each year. Both Trinity and Southwestern typically take a number of trips each year and Austin College always seems to play the most matches each year. To show the disparity in this expense, La Verne spent the least amount in the West Region at $16,156, which is also interesting because they took a trip and also had to fly to the UT-Dallas Region that year. It almost makes me think that the accounting wasn’t correct in this case. The next three lowest spenders were Chapman, Schreiner and UC Santa Cruz and none of these teams took a flight during the year. Based on the definition of this expense, travel doesn’t make up the entire amount but this number is a good indication of which teams are willing to travel to seek out the competition they need in order to build up their NCAA Tournament resume.

If you re-read the definition of the Total Expense number, you know that the difference is not the coach’s salary. With that said, we know that the salary is included in the difference between the Total Expense and the Operating Expense. Now, there could be accounting tricks at play here, too. A number of coaches have other jobs at the school and that portion of their salary would not be reported in the EADA data. Here are the top 5 schools from 2016 that had the highest net between the Total Expense and the Operating Expense:

  1. Colorado College at $168,305
  2. UT-Dallas at $162,679
  3. California Lutheran at $159,813
  4. Pacific at $147,637
  5. ETBU at $119,937

These are not the coaches’ salaries! I’m sure they would like this to be the case but there is just no way to determine what percentage of the net goes to their specific salary. Now, what truly shocks me with all of these number is this next list, which is the bottom 5 schools in net spending:

  1. Sul Ross State at $27,663
  2. Whittier College at $35,000
  3. Centenary College at $44,934
  4. Hardin-Simmons at $47,332
  5. Austin College at $48,914

If I understand these numbers correctly, the coach’s salary has to be included in this net figure. I don’t want to pick on Sul Ross State, but I’m going to here. Sul Ross basically has the same endowment as LeTourneau and in 2016 spent right around the same amount on their sports teams as a whole. But, their spending on volleyball differed by almost $30,000 (or over 50% of the Sul Ross State budget for volleyball). The difference is that Sul Ross State supports both football and rodeo. Along with basketball, these are the three top programs when it comes to funding at Sul Ross State. It’s a matter of priority and it hurts me when volleyball isn’t prioritize a little higher at some of these schools. Sul Ross State had an improved year in 2018 and have some really good players and my hope is that they can find some money to see what heights they can achieve. With regards to Whittier, Coach Duarte-McDermott has to be a trust fund baby, right? Both Hardin-Simmons and Austin College surprise me by being on this list, which makes me think extra compensation has to come from other sources within the university.

How to summarize all of this up? That was a lot of lists and a lot of numbers. For the most part, DIII coaches aren’t paid nearly enough and some of these salaries are borderline criminal. If you are a recruit and you have dreams of playing in the NCAA Tournament, take a look at the EADA data for the schools you are interested in playing. There are exceptions (see Whittier) but for the most part, the schools have to prioritize the program to be successful. If you are a school’s Director of Athletics then this seems like a gold mine for successful underappreciated coaches. If you are rich booster, after sending me some money, just know it doesn’t take much to elevate a school’s volleyball program.

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