This academic year was the first year in Oswego State history that each men’s and women’s club sports received equal funding from the Student Association, after an Equal Pay for Equal Play resolution passed last year.
When setting up budgets for this academic year, Miranda Kryskow, the SA finance director, averaged the budgets of the men’s and women’s club sports to come up with an equal number. The women’s teams got huge increases to their initial budgets, and men’s teams got decent cuts in their budgets.
“[Women’s teams] have made the best they could out of a new opportunity,” Kryskow said.
The men’s teams were pretty upset with what was going on, according to Kryskow.
“A lot of them were like ‘Yeah, this sucks. It’s a lot tighter for our belt, but we know that we have to help our female counterparts in getting them to where they need to be, to a more equitable spot with us,’” Kryskow said. “There was a lot of mumbling and grumbling, but ultimately, we all knew we have to suck it up for the year and get through to help each other.”
Many people were involved in starting the movement at Oswego State, including the director of Campus Life, the vice president of academic affairs, the SA president, Kryskow and Campus Recreation. The goal was to create a system where women’s teams could request enough money to have the same opportunities that men’s teams do.
Previously, SA used a system where each organization requested a certain amount of funding. They would look at what the organization had spent in the past, and it led to legacy funding.
“If you could find a way to spend $10,000, then you could get $10,000 plus some, which was detrimental to our budget and detrimental to the opportunities of men and women’s sports,” Kryskow said.
Part of the problem is that women’s club sports felt like they could not request as much money, according to Kryskow.
“That’s where the idea came from and where this problem arose,” Kryskow said. “We wanted to make sure that women’s club sports felt like they could ask for exactly what they needed to provide them with the same opportunities that we’re giving men’s sports.”
For the 2017-18 season, men’s club rugby had a budget of $18,950, and the women’s club rugby had a budget of $7,300. For the 2018-19 season, both organizations had a budget of $13,775.
For the 2017-18 season, men’s baseball had a budget of $11,250, and the women’s softball had a budget of $1,500. For the 2018-19 season, both organizations had a budget of $8,231. For the 2017-18 season, men’s club volleyball had a budget of $4,200 and the women’s club volleyball had a budget of $2,000. For the 2018-19 season, both organizations had a budget of $5,795. For the 2017-18 season, men’s club soccer had a budget of $4,500, and the women’s club soccer had a budget of $2,650. For the 2018-19 season, both organizations had a budget of $4,286.
Men’s club ice hockey took the greatest hit, with a budget cut of $8,101. For the 2017-18 season, men’s club ice hockey had a budget of $37,500, and the women’s club ice hockey had a budget of $7,200. For the 2018-19 season, both organizations had a budget of $29,399.
The budget cut caused players to pay more out-of-pocket and fundraise for expenses, such as ice time and paying officials, head coach Christopher Timmons told The Oswegonian in March. Timmons declined an interview in late April, stating that he has decided to no longer comment on the budget changes, as the organization is looking to move past it and continue forward in their progress.
“I think we also need to shed light on the fact that there may be clubs that are in different phases in terms of structure, organization, community outreach and participation,” Timmons said in an article from The Oswegonian on March 15, 2019. “I agree that each club should have equal opportunity to grow and prosper each year, but that also needs to be earned through progression and results, not just given.”
The women’s club hockey team budget gained $22,199 this year, which gave them an opportunity to purchase desperately needed new equipment and jerseys, said Madeline Block, the current vice president and incoming president of women’s club hockey.
“We ordered new gloves [because] all the gloves were gross,” Block said. “Some of the girls had to use past gloves that had been used for four years, so they were moldy.”
Block said they also spent money on new helmets. Hockey helmets have expiration dates and are supposed to be replaced when the player gets a concussion.
The women’s club hockey was also able to go on overnight trips, paying for a hotel and a bus. Last year, the team members would pile into their own cars and get gas cards from SA.
Also, the women’s club hockey team was able to use their funding to join the ACHA Div. II league, where they play against more competitive teams.
“In previous years, we were winning 10-0 against teams, so it wasn’t very fun and got kind of old for us,” Block said. “It’s nice being in a competitive league and being able to afford the dues for that league. That was the whole point of why we needed more money.”
The increase of budget has had a positive impact on the team, Block said.
“People, like incoming freshmen, aren’t feeling like they’re less than others because now they have new gear just like everyone else,” Block said. “It makes them feel part of a team and now everybody matches, which is nice.”
As of the end of April, the women’s club hockey team has around $30 left in their budget, which they plan to spend on tape for the next season.
Next year, the team plans to spend their budget updating their jerseys, which can cost thousands of dollars, Block said.
“Equal pay for equal play brought a lot of us together, because we went to different marches and it was good team bonding,” Block said.
Kryskow said, this year, all of the women’s club sports feel a little more secure with the amount of funding they have received.
“They spend what they have to spend, and they know they have room to buy whatever they need,” Kryskow said. “They haven’t spent all of it yet because they’re not used to that funding.”
Kryskow said she hopes Oswego State can get to a place where men and women’s club sports and all organizations feel like they are getting a fair treatment.
“I hope all of this brings about a culture where SA is willing to support and help all of its clubs and everybody we can,” Kryskow said. “But we need to be more financially responsible and realize that we can’t pay for every single part of every single club of everything that you’re doing.”
Graphic by Patrick Higgins | The Oswegonian