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The Penn Athletic Department released its statistics on gender equity this month, in a report that shows little change from the 1998-1999 numbers. Male athletes outnumbered female athletes by about 40 percent in 1999-2000 -- a negligible difference from last year. According to the 1999-2000 Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act report, 37.5 percent of Penn athletes are women, a slight decrease from 38.6 percent in the previous academic year. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said the annual report showed "great gains but a disappointing blip" in female sports participation. The number of female athletes fell from 426 to 402 in 2000. Bilsky attributed the drop to roughly 20 athletes on the women's track team quitting throughout the course of the year. Penn's undergraduate population is currently divided at 50.6 percent male and 49.4 female. Teams like football and sprint football, with large rosters and no women's equivalent, skew the statistics.One hundred forty-nine of Penn's 670 male athletes played either football or sprint football in 1999-2000, accounting for almost 14 percent of all athletes. "Our goal institutionally is, over time, to reduce that gap [between women and men] and make it closer to the overall student population," Bilsky said, noting a target split of between 60-40 and 55-45. Penn's report was issued in accordance with the EADA, a 1995 law that requires most universities with intercollegiate athletic programs to provide information to the public upon request. The reports are meant to ensure compliance with federal Title IX requirements of equal funding for men's and women's sports. Title IX, imposed as part of the Educational Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and officially signed into law in 1972, mandates gender equity between sports programs. Penn's EADA report shows that the total expenses earmarked exclusively for men's sports are $3.8 million, 51.7 percent of total expenses -- down from 54.5 percent the year before. Women's sports account for $1.9 million or 26.2 percent of expenses. The remaining 22.1 percent is not gender-specific. But men's teams also accounted for more than three times as much revenue for the Athletic Department as did women's teams. According to Bilsky, the discrepancy in funding is distorted by one-time expenses such as last year's baseball team trip to Italy and men's lacrosse team trip to Britain. Some of the difference can also be attributed to the higher salaries commanded by experienced coaches of high-profile men's sports. The EADA report shows that the average male sports team head coach earned roughly $10,600 more than their counterparts leading women's teams. In 1998-1999, that discrepancy was about $11,871. There is also a disparity between the revenues generated by men's and women's teams. Male sports programs raked in about $2.8 million compared with women's programs, which brought in $905,000. While the men's figure represented a decline from last year, when teams brought in $3.2 million, the women's figure jumped significantly from the $372,000 in revenue of 1998-99. Bilsky said the EADA data would be used to shape the Athletic Department's strategy to ensure gender equity. For example, he said that the Athletic Department hopes to increase female sports participation by adding a women's junior varsity volleyball team next year, with the possibility of a similar program in women's basketball in the future. The number of women sports teams climbed from 15 to 16 last year with the addition of women's golf. There are currently 17 men's sports teams. Penn's Athletic Department has been under special pressure to work toward greater gender equity since settling a complaint filed against the University for Title IX infractions in 1995.

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