University continues to apportion funding for women’s athletics

Caroline Goldstein

Each year, the Office of Postsecondary Education, under the U.S. Department of Education, publishes data from all colleges and universities that have federal student aid programs, including Villanova, regarding the finances of their athletic programs.

The data includes the number of participants in each varsity sport, coaching staff and salaries and revenues and expenses.

As of the 2008-’09 school year, there were a total of 296 male athletes and 250 female athletes at Villanova. Of those 546 athletes, about 250 receive some type of aid, according to Vince Nicastro, director of Athletics at the University.

The amount of aid can range anywhere from a full athletic scholarship to a partial athletic scholarship to a scholarship to pay for school books.

According to the data on OPE’s website, Villanova distributes $4,574,219 of athletically related student aid to male athletes and $4,073,417 to female athletes. 

The amount of aid distributed to the male and female athletes is directly related to the number of male and female athletes, according to Nicastro.

Some teams, such as men’s and women’s basketball, have most of their athletes on full scholarships. 

The football program has the most scholarship money overall, with 63 full scholarships. There were 91 participants on the football team’s roster for the 2008-’09 season.

Recruiting expenses in 2008-’09 for the men’s teams were $234,838, and $96,205 for the women’s teams.

In explaining the differences between recruiting expenses for the men’s and women’s teams, Nicastro said that the numbers are budgeted to be proportional to the number of male athletes and the number of female athletes.

In accordance with Title IX, which is a law requiring equality in athletic programs, the University has been allocating more money to the women’s programs overall in the past eight to 10 years, Nicastro said. 

However, the numbers for recruiting costs can fluctuate from year to year, depending on class size.

For example, Nicastro said, there were 20 openings on the football team this year due to graduating seniors. Not every team has the same number of openings each year.

Almost all athletes at the University are recruited in some way, according to Nicastro. Recruiting can include receiving a letter or a phone call from a coach at the University, a visit to the University or even a visit not paid for by Villanova.

Even talking to a coach can be considered recruiting, Nicastro noted, adding, “We have very few pure walk-ons these days.”

Walk-ons generally do not receive athletic aid.

Along with the statistics on total aid the University awards yearly, the data on OPE’s website also includes the revenue for each sports team at Villanova.

The men’s basketball program is listed as the only varsity sport at Villanova that reports a net profit. The team had revenues of $7,155,812 and expenses of $5,959,931 in the 2008-’09 season, for a profit of $1,195,881.

Nicastro explained that the bulk of what is reported as revenue is institutional support, which is funding from the University, and not external revenue.

“It’s not unusual that there is institutional support, particularly in the private Catholic schools,” he said.

However, not every program’s reported revenue is completely institutional support. Football, for example, has reported revenues of $4,680,860. Nicastro estimated that about $1 million of that revenue was external revenue.

Each team reports breaking even on revenues and expenses, Nicastro said, as a result of the online program through which each school must enter their data to submit to OPE. 

The men’s basketball program is different from the other programs because there is no institutional support.

Villanova spent $131,000 per participant in the men’s basketball program for the 2008-’09 season. Georgetown University reported spending $93,737 per participant and the University of Louisville reported spending $100,624 per participant, both during the same time period.

Nicastro said that Villanova looks at the overall expenditure as opposed to the breakdown per participant. The differences between schools, Nicastro said, could be “idiosyncrasies” in the reporting.

Villanova might travel more by air than other schools, resulting in the greater number of dollars per participant, Nicastro said.

He also noted that some schools include certain expenditures in these numbers that other schools do not.

“I do caution people because sometimes it is difficult to draw a conclusion because of the reporting,” Nicastro said.

The data for the 2009-’10 school year will be available on Nov. 1 on the OPE website.