Each year, the Hopkins lacrosse program receives more funding than any other sport, as the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are the only two Division I athletic programs offered on campus, according to Hopkins Athletics Director Tom Calder. Part of the large proportion in funding relates to National College Athletics Association (NCAA) regulations which only allow Division I sports to offer scholarships.
"Because both teams are NCAA Division I members, they, unlike our other sports at Hopkins, are permitted by NCAA legislation to provide athletic scholarships," Calder wrote in an email to The News-Letter. "In addition, because of their DI membership, they are able to compete against Division I institutions."
There is a difference in the budget allocated for each individual player between lacrosse and other sports. Parts of this relates to the status of lacrosse as a Division I sport on campus. Whereas other Hopkins varsity sports,which are Division III, only play area schools, lacrosse is required to play other Division I schools which often are farther away.
"Because they are Division I sports, both the men’s and the women’s lacrosse teams, on the whole, must travel greater distances to compete and they receive athletic scholarships as part of their budgets," Calder wrote. "Most of our other sports compete at the NCAA Division III level and they compete mostly within the mid-Atlantic region because, in DIII, regional games count more toward qualifying for NCAA post season play than out of region games. In addition, Hopkins is a member of the Centennial Conference for the majority of our Division III sports. The Centennial member institutions are located in either Pennsylvania or Maryland."
For these and various other reasons, the budgets vary for Hopkins sports. According to information from the Office of Postsecondary Education's Equity in Athletics Disclosure website, the least expensive budget allocation is $96 per player for indoor track and field, a Division III sport. Comparatively, women’s lacrosse receives the most funding with an operating expense of $2,589 per participant.
The lacrosse program in general has a significantly greater total operating expense with $160,346, while the next highest is baseball with a total operating expense of less than half at $62,683.
Six Hopkins varsity teams, both men’s and women’s, have total individual expenses ranging from $12,000-$16,000.
While they do not receive the same budget or attention from the University, most Division III Hopkins athletes do not have a negative attitude toward the lacrosse teams’ funding. Though many athletes say that they would like to have improved funding, they understand why lacrosse receives more.
“Hopkins is very smart about trying to spread out the money in an even way. Lacrosse is a moneymaker here,” freshman football defensive back TJ Reeves said. “The money generated by sports is generated by lacrosse.”
“Lacrosse is the only [Division 1] sport on campus,” sophomore Kyle Fischer, who plays on the men’s varsity soccer team, said. “Because of this, they have stronger alumni support, so their program obviously receives more funding than other sports [at Hopkins].”
Although Reeves notices a difference in the funding between football and lacrosse, he understands that lacrosse is a Division I sport with a great history and that everything is relative. In fact, he feels that the football team benefits from having lacrosse at Hopkins. This feeling is mutual among many of the athletes.
“Lacrosse generates publicity so because of that we have deals with Nike,” track and cross country runner Nick Mantovani said.
Nike does not sponsor the team, but athletes get discounts off of their products.
“Obviously lacrosse brings a lot of publicity to the school and generates school spirit, but there are other ways to get school spirit,” freshman Track runner Sam Gottuso said.
One of the biggest complaints among athletes is not having sporting events on campus, which makes it incrementally more difficult to generate excitement and a fan base for a team. This is true for some varsity sports, like track and field, as well as club sports like rugby. It must be noted, however, that varsity sports do not operate within the same budget constraints and regulations as club sports.
Rugby, although a club team at Hopkins, mostly competes against varsity teams from other universities.
As rugby is not a popular sport in America, it is difficult to both recruit players and get students to come out and watch their games, especially because rugby’s home games are at parks about a 20 minute drive away.
“It hinders rugby from growing because you can’t get as much recognition from a lot of people who haven’t seen a rugby game before and don’t know how to play it,” rugby player Jonah Ogbuneke said. “So they’re not going to travel to come see our games and potential players will not be interested.”
While Ogbuneke understands why lacrosse receives extensive funding, he wishes rugby received more attention from the University.
“I get it because they bring in the most revenue, but it is still annoying because I play a sport too. It may not be varsity, but we’re still representingHopkins and I’d like some recognition for that,” Ogbuneke said.
Cycling, another club sport at Hopkins, also suffers from a lack of funding.
Like rugby, players understand that they have a smaller budget than the varsity teams because they are a club sport.
However, because Hopkins doesn’t have a varsity cycling team, anyone who wants to cycle has to join the club.
While cycling has an allotted budget from the University, the University prohibits the budget from covering hotel expenses.
“Considering that our competitions are all at least three hours away, that’s kind of a bummer” freshman Caleb Baechtold said. “There are people who don’t race at every race because they can’t afford it.”
The most frequent complaint from athletes is about the state of the locker rooms. Calder noted, however, that teams are allowed to fundraise on their own for money to improve facilities.
While the football team received the old lacrosse team’s locker room this year when lacrosse moved to the new Cordish Lacrosse Center, other teams have not been as lucky.
“The fencing teams locker room looks old and run down,” freshmen fencer Brent Schottenfeld wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “The locker rooms for football baseball and lacrosse, particularly lacrosse are significantly nicer than the other sports. Their locker room is carpeted has seats for everyone opposed to the benches that we have. And the lacrosse team gets more free equipment such as warm ups and other things.”
Despite the small budget, the University generally funds team events, such as team trips.
“During pre-season we went on a tubing trip to the NCR trail,” Gottuso said, “It was fun and teams were bonded, memories were made.”
No student had to pay to go on the trip. However, the track team has not received any other perks.
“At other D3 programs they get shoes and stuff, but we don’t get anything” Gottuso added.
Many Hopkins athletes feel that, although the lower budget is restricting in some ways, it does have some beneficial aspects.
“It actually makes the focus on the actual game of football. We’re not here for anything else other than the love of the game,” Reeves said. “At other schools people may go there for the perks, but here its nice to know that everyone just loves the sport. It makes the focus so much better and you’re hanging out with people with a shared love of the game.”
This article was updated on Oct. 12, 2012 to include attribution and information from Hopkins Athletics Director Tom Calder.