Athletics Department in need of third director in three years
from The Guilfordian, the Guilford College campus newspaper and this is from their online edition…Was at the campus on Saturday, picked up a hard copy of The Guilfordian and came across this article and found it very interesting…Women’s basketball Stephanie Flamini working as the acting Guilford Athletic Director, but she is also now in full flung basketball practices for the women and they have upcoming games, so Coach Flamini is currently very busy at Guilford…AD Sue Bower was relieved of her duties on October 21….Check out the post/article from Trey Kawugule, sports editor for The Guilfordian…www.guilfordian.com and CLICK HERE for the link to the article/post from Trey Kawugule…
Here is that article/post form Trey today and this gives you some current news about the athletic moves at Guilford College…..
Trey Kawugule, Sports Editor|November 1, 2019
Athletics Department in need of third director in three years
In the Oct. 11 issue of the Guilfordian, we ran a story reporting on the performance of athletic director Sue Bower. On Oct. 21, staff and faculty received an email from Guilford College president Jane Fernandes stating that, “After deep consideration, Sue Bower is no longer serving in the role of athletic director at Guilford College and is moving on to other opportunities. The College wishes her well.”
Bower served as the athletic director for one year and three months before her sudden departure. Before Bower, Craig Eilbacher served in an interim capacity in spring 2018, relieving Nelson Bobb who served as interim athletic director for the fall semester in 2017.
Before Bobb, Tom Polumbo served as the athletic director for 10 years before stepping down amidst an impending Title IX lawsuit. This most recent dismissal continues a disturbing trend of tumultuous endings for the college’s top job in athletics.
The trend begs the question: Is it the fault of the athletic directors? The command structure is such that the athletic director answers to one person, the president of the College.
According to an email sent by the chair of the board of trustees and chair of the evaluation committee, it’s unlikely that the president would be the problem. As part of its performance review, the board contacted Tania Jarosewich, Ph.D., from the Censeo Group to conduct a survey.
According to that survey, “The snapshot is very positive. There is a clear consensus that The Guilford Edge is a crucial ingredient in the future success of the College, and that Jane has courageously set the tone, tenor and pace to make it a reality.”
One glaring blemish on Fernandes’ tenure at Guilford was the Title IX lawsuit that was settled this past summer. However, according to a July News and Record article, Fernandes was quoted as saying “(the court) made no determination that the College had done or is doing anything wrong. But we decided to use the opportunity to look hard at our athletics program and try some new things.”
The lawsuit alleged discrimination because of a lack of resources being allocated to women’s sports and smaller programs such as track and field, stemming largely from a lack of funding.
The final allocation of funding is something that is up to the board of trustees, and therefore not within the purview of the athletic director. So, while Tom Palumbo was a party named in the lawsuit because of his position, he is not to blame for funding inequity.
The president’s cabinet and the board of trustees has stayed silent towards students in regard to the dismissal of Sue Bower. While staff and faculty were notified on Oct. 21, there has yet to be a student notification.
“It feels like we have lost our heart and voice,” said Corby Brooke, junior women’s soccer player. Several Guilford athletics staff members declined to go on the record, but also expressed surprise about Bower’s departure.
Over the past year, Sue Bower spoke publicly and privately about her vision for the department, where she wanted to promote equity across the board. Her extensive background as a NCAA Division I administrator poised her to do just that.
Something she felt passionate about was ensuring that programs have assistant coaches, and that they would be compensated accordingly and equitably. Cleary, Bower received pushback from the administration on this point.
Barbara Lawrence, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Title IX Coordinator, and Stephanie Flamini, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, are the parties that work yearly with the board of trustees and senior administration to set standards of equity in the department.
The proof of her inability to push her agenda through is most clear in Guilford’s 2018-19 Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act report.
At Guilford in the 2018-19 year, part-time male assistant coaches were compensated on average 56% more than their female counterparts. In addition, full-time male assistants made 31% more on average.
Bower headed up an Equity in Athletics Committee last year, charged with creating a five-year gender equity plan. At the conclusion of last semester, the committee had a working plan that was submitted to the president.
At the beginning of this year, Jane Fernandes took over the committee. So far there has been no production of a gender equity plan for the public to see.
Another idea that Bower brought in to improve the overall student-athlete experience was an annual survey, mandated to be taken by all athletes reviewing all aspects of their past year (coaching staff experience, facilities experience, student services experience, competition experience, Guilford College experience). This product of the Equity in Athletics committee has evidently also disappeared with the change in leadership.
The remainder of the 2018-19 EADA report (available to the public) paints a grim picture. One of the main sections in the report is athletics participation, where an institution reports the number of student-athletes, which should theoretically reflect the gender makeup of the school.
In a year where the undergraduate male to female percentages were 48 to 52 percent respectively, the athletics department had a 63 to 37 percent mark.
That 26 percent difference translates to a 107 student difference. The number 107 is intriguing because it is only one number off of players listed on the online 2018 roster of the football team.
While the site lists 108 football players, the EADA shows 78, which prevents the percentage difference from inflating. Often, smaller institutions are able to explain their inequity in numbers by being provided the “caveat” of a football team. Having 30 more players reported would have made that caveat much less convincing.
The EADA report is designed to make sure that schools’ athletics departments reflect the makeup of the campus. On this form, the school fails by 6%, or 26 participants, when Guilford’s football team is taken out of the equation.
Participation is not the only area that raises concern; the cost of operating expenses per participant also raises questions. In the case of baseball and softball, baseball spends 760 dollars more per participant than softball, even though the latter only has five fewer team members.
This is not only an issue across gender lines, but within as well. Women’s basketball and volleyball require relatively the same amount of equipment, yet women’s basketball spends 2,999 more dollars per participant.
From the 2018-19 EADA report, it appears that, even though the Title IX lawsuit was settled, there is a long way to go. The issues of participation and funding equity that brought about the suit continue to be pervasive.
Sue Bower challenged the long-standing status quo of inequity in the athletics department. In return, Bower only served as Guilford’s athletic director for 15 and a half months.
A change in department leadership leaves Women’s Basketball Head Coach Stephanie Flamini as the only link to the administration, as she has been asked to take over day to day operations after Bower’s departure. Flamini assume two full time roles, as her team begins regular season competition in early November.
Guilford’s 2018-19 EADA report is available online at Guilfordquakers.com under athletics reports. Equity in Athletics data for thousands of colleges and universities is available at ope.ed.gov/athletics.
“The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act requires co-educational institutions of postsecondary education that participate in Title IV federal student financial assistance program, and have an intercollegiate athletic program, to prepare an annual report to the Department of Education on athletic participation, staffing, and revenues and expenses, by men’s and women’s teams”( www.ed.gov).