PNW backs words with actions: Recruits more female athletes, adds more clubs and sports


PNW takes seriously its commitment to women’s sports. The university has increased the number of female athletic programs during the last decade, including the addition of women’s softball. Though more men than women participate in sports, spending on women is slightly ahead.

PNW athletics puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to Title IX and the school’s Gender Equity plan.

Since the federal Title IX law was enacted 50 years ago to create equal opportunity for women athletes, many schools have made sure their athletic scholarship dollars are equally split between male and female athletes.  PNW has done more.

Over the last 10 years, the university has been committed to equality by creating more opportunity for women athletes. Athletic Director Rick Costello, coaches and colleagues within athletics have put in place a plan that not only has increased opportunity for women athletes, but has actually tipped the scale their way.

“Since I became athletic director, we started softball, women’s golf, branched out to indoor and outdoor track and field,” said Costello.

Today, PNW spends slightly more on women athletes. The school has invested $445,643 in student aid for female athletes and $436,850 for men. The recruiting expense budget – though small because most recruiting is local – also reflects an emphasis on women: $7,627, compared with $4,159.

“Every year I have been AD we have provided more athletic scholarship to female student athletes than male student athletes,” said Costello.

Because male sports have a longer history, there are more male athletes — 124, compared to 108 female athletes. But women continue to play an important leadership role. For example, for three years in a row the Student Athlete Advisory Committee here has been led by a female. SAAC offers input on the rules, regulations and policies within their universities athletics and within the NCAA.

PNW is an outlier in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Rival teams like Saginaw Valley and Wisconsin Parkside, have more male athletes than females and invest more in their male athletes.

“The gender equality plan is our road map to make sure we are living by the legislation and the law…the plan calls for review every three years to see what other women’s opportunities need to be added, perhaps it is lacrosse or bowling,” said Costello.

Courtney Locke, assistant Athletic Director for Strategic Initiatives and head women’s basketball coach said the school’s commitment is real – and offers women athletes real opportunity.

“Title IX is the floor, not the ceiling,” she said.

It applies on and off the court.  Locke recently hosted a Pride Means Business women’s empowerment event featuring community leaders who shared career insight and advice with students.

“The whole night was a great experience for us to see what females are capable of in the real world and how we can find ourselves after sports in college,” said Amanda Logan, grad student on the women’s soccer team.