Five minutes is all it takes and you’ll spot one. The athletes on campus are distinguishable by their gear. Saint Peter’s Peacocks swimming and diving tracksuits, basketball backpacks, soccer sweaters and tennis hats are spotted all around campus.
The underlying problem is that not all student-athletes are sure where all the money the school receives is going, and they feel like they don't see it represented in their team budgets.
“We all know it’s the basketball team that gets the most stuff. I’m not one to get upset about it as most people do,” said senior Davis Hocking, men’s soccer defensive player.
The latest recorded budget by the athletic department in 2016 was approximately $7 million, and it costs about $8 million to run the athletic program, according to the equity in athletics data analysis. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, Division I schools, on average, enroll more students, manage larger athletics budgets, offer a wider array of academic programs and provide more athletic scholarships than schools in Division II and Division III institutions, according to their finance handbook.
Saint Peter’s, as part of a Division I program, belongs to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference which falls into the all governing body of the NCAA.
The NCAA’s primary goal is to support the schools as they help prepare student-athletes for a lifetime of opportunity. By offering financial resources,they will distribute a set amount of money, allowing the school to present a specific number of scholarships to prospective student-athletes.
“We are at the top of the food chain, essentially meaning more money. The NCAA will provide more scholarships at the Division 1 level,” said Brian Felt, athletic director.
According to the data, the soccer team’s revenue was of about $335,556 compared to the basketball team’s which was of $2 million.
“I feel as though it’s a little unfair that the basketball team gets as much equipment as they do, along with all the other benefits of being a basketball player,” said freshman swimmer Andrew Valentino.
The swimming and diving teams budget in 2016 totaled $20,567.
“Not to discredit the team's recent success or how hard they work, but all teams work as hard and you don’t see that reflected in the equipment budget or the travel budget,” said Valentino. “I’d just like them to act like all the sports here hold equal weight.”
Many of the athletes we talked to who are not part of the women's and men's basketball teams complained they are getting cut from a share that corresponds to them as well. Felt says that no teams are underlooked and are treated equally by explaining the way the athletic budget works.
“If you think about the sports that’ll generate revenue for an institution, football and basketball are typically at the top of that list. For us, it’s basketball which really does drive that bus for the conference,” said Felt.
According to the annual Equity in Athletics information submitted by Saint Peter’s in 2016, the basketball teams’ total expenses of both men and women teams were approximately $3 million with a revenue income of $2 million, which includes their income of approximately $500,000 gained per televised game.
Although some of the teams may not feel like they are receiving the same benefits as others, Felt shared that they shouldn’t have to feel that way.
“I never want our athletes to feel like they're not receiving something that other athletes are,” said Felt. “I’m going to make sure they have everything to be competitive and to have a good experience.”
The student-athletes understand that the on and off change between athletic directors has caused a gap in the function and flow of the athletic department.
“He is stepping into a really hard role, where he’s coming in, when the majority of the athletes are upset about how things are,” said Hocking. “We have the opportunity to generate money. I just think we’re not doing it. Other sports teams can make money as well.”