Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports
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Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports

Edited by Eva Marikova Leeds and Michael A. Leeds

Women’s sports have received much less attention from economists than from other social scientists. This Handbook fills that gap with a comprehensive economic analysis of women’s sports. It also analyzes how the behavior and treatment of female athletes reflect broad economic forces.
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Chapter 10: Revenues and subsidies in collegiate sports: an analysis of NCAA Division I women’s basketball

Robert W. Brown and R. Todd Jewell


In the nearly 40 years since it was passed and signed into law by President Richard Nixon, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 has required colleges and universities to offer female student-athletes opportunities comparable to male student-athletes. Partly as a result, the number of women participating in intercollegiate sports has increased from around 30,000 in 1971 to over 165,000 in 2005 (National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, 2008). Controversy has surrounded Title IX since its inception, primarily because athletic administrators view Title IX as an additional economic constraint within which they must operate. Administrators at schools with large ‘revenue-producing’ football or men’s basketball teams, which have traditionally subsidized non-revenue sports, may be forced to transfer revenue from non-revenue men’s sports to women’s sports. The size of the transfer depends on the size of the surplus revenues generated across all athletic teams as well as the women’s sports teams in particular. Revenue-producing inter-collegiate athletic programs often rely on football or men’s basketball to subsidize non-revenue sports and general athletic expenses (Leeds et al., 2004). The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the umbrella organization that establishes rules for colleges with the most prestigious sports programs, restricts the mobility of athletes between schools and controls recruiting of and compensation for these student-athletes.

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