Before this year, the women’s club hockey players were wearing moldy gloves.
Before this year, the women’s club rugby team was wearing uniforms from Barack Obama’s first term as president.
The Equal Pay for Equal Play resolution passed last year, and this academic year marked the first year in Oswego State history that the men’s and women’s club sports received equal funding from the Student Association.
The women’s teams ended up receiving huge increases to their initial budgets during this academic year, and men’s teams received decent cuts in their budgets.
With an increase in their budgets this year, the women’s club hockey team was able to purchase new gloves, and the women’s club rugby team was able to purchase new uniforms for the first time in 10 years.
“Some of the girls had to use past gloves that had been used for four years,” said Madeline Block, the current vice president and incoming president of women’s club hockey.
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.
“[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, Kryskow said.
“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 counter parts 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 rec. 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 has 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, Kryskow said.
“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.
Sabrina Shortall, a graduating senior and president of Women’s Rugby, said the team has adjusted to the new budget, allowing for the quickly growing team to succeed in new opportunities.
The team was able to purchase new uniforms for the first time in the last 10 years. They were also able to travel to Ohio for playoffs and five other tournaments, including the largest on the east coast.
“As of now we have used our entire budget,” Shortall said. “This year we made some large purchases such as new uniforms and planned very carefully to use all our money, putting it to good use without running out or spending carelessly.”
Next year, the team plans on buying new equipment such as pads and balls.
Shortall said the fight for equal play opened people’s eyes to the larger issue of women’s rights.
“Taking what change we’ve made here and seeing the impact our voices can have launches us women into the real world wanting to continue that fight,” Shortall said. “It has also had a direct impact on student involvement on campus. Seeing the discrepancies lit a fire in some women to become more hands on in issues our campus faces.”
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, Block said.
“We ordered new gloves, all the gloves were gross,” Block said.
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 had 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.”
Shortall said the fight was for equal and fair budgeting.
“It did not mean men’s teams should suffer,” Shortall said. “It meant across the board we needed a new way of looking at our budget and finding a way to ensure fair and fiscally responsible spending.”
With the new zero-based budgeting, it ensures that all teams are using their money wisely and fairly, Shortall said.
“All teams deserve an opportunity to succeed,” Shortall said. “It’s up to the players on the field how far they’ll take our teams but it’s our job to ensure they have the tools to get there.”