Salary increase proposed for club sports coaches

College Council will vote on a proposal for a payment system for club sports coaches at tonight’s meeting. If CC approves the proposal, coaches for the rugby, water polo, equestrian and sailing teams will be given an initial 11 percent raise, followed by an increase of 3 percent each year. CC dollar contribution will also decrease to 45 percent from its current 50 percent funding, while the Athletic Department will allocate the other 55 percent.

The new proposal is the result of a continuing discussion over club sports funding between CC, club sports members and senior staff. College Council distributions generally fund student-hired support for most student organizations, including coaching for some club sports. Due to College insurance policies, however, club sports deemed “high-risk” are required to employ official coaches, whose salaries are then split between CC and the College.

Still, the nature of the current payment system and the precise figures for salaries remain mysteries for most coaches, administrators and students. “We’ve seen salaries oscillate over the years,” said Bill Wagner, dean of the faculty. “Those of us making the decisions now came into the process long after these salaries were set.”

Bruce Stephenson, coach of men’s rugby, would be affected by the new changes. Despite coaching at the College for 12 years, Stephenson has never received a contract and has watched his salary vary between $5,890 in 1997 to his current pay of $7,600 for the 15 weeks of coaching he does in the fall and spring seasons of the sport.

Stephenson and other coaches have been largely absent from salary discussions, as well as the negotiations that led to the new policy. “I don’t have a contract. I don’t know who creates the salary figure or who it comes from,” Stephenson said. “I’m a little frustrated.” Stephenson was told by the College that students on the team would serve as his representatives in salary negotiations. Wagner also acknowledged that the proposal was formulated without talking to the coaches.

Nonetheless, both Stephenson and students such as Jose Pacas ’08, president of men’s rugby, see the proposed increases as a “good start.” Peter Nurnberg ’09, CC co-president, also lauded the tentative changes. “The annual increases [would] ensure that the coaches’ salaries do not shrink in inflation-adjusted terms,” Nurnberg said. “If Bernanke et al. are doing their jobs, it should even generate an inflation-adjusted salary increase.”

According to Wagner, the adjustments were calculated by examining average staff salary increases and average increase in student activities. “The salary increases would still be below student activities increases, so salaries would not be rising faster than CC resources,” Wagner said.