The reckoning one coach's comment about sports bras has wrought.
In a 30-page report released Wednesday, former Division I college athletic administrator and current consultant Cheryl Levick concludes that Rowan University in New Jersey needs to tighten control of its athletic department, remedy gender inequity issues and address insufficient facilities.
As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the university-commissioned report follows a controversy at Rowan over a football coach’s attempt to stop female athletes from running in sports bras in an area where his players were practicing and a subsequent investigation by The Chronicle of Higher Education that described a department with deep problems and gender inequities. A separate Rowan human resources investigation, which was not made public, led to the retirement of athletic director Dan Gilmore, who had been employed by the university for 43 years.
In her report, Levick recommends that Rowan’s athletic director report to president Ali A. Houshmand, not to a vice president. The present setup, she wrote, “could cause a lack of direct communication and insufficient oversight for the department of athletics.” She also recommends more day-to-day oversight of sports programs and the appointment of a “Senior Woman Administrator," as recommended by the NCAA.
In addition, Rowan ought to remedy the imbalance between men’s and women’s coaching positions, according to the report. For some sports, men’s coaches are full-time and women’s coaches are not. And in some cases — soccer, for instance — men’s teams have more coaches than women’s teams. Further, some women’s team coaches have 10-month contracts, whereas coaches for men’s teams have 12-month contracts and higher salaries. As an example of inequity in corresponding men's and women's sports, Levick points out that members of the men’s cross country team receive practice shoes every year; women on the cross country and track and field teams do not always receive practice shoes. She recommends that the department better monitor coaches and conduct an audit of the allocation of shoes and gear to prevent such incidents from occurring.
In some cases, Levick found, Rowan’s women’s teams lack adequate locker space to accommodate every player. However, facility inadequacies transcend gender. “With 18 varsity sports and almost 500 student athletes, the current facilities do not adequately meet the needs of the student athletes at Rowan University," Levick wrote.