The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Lisa Bluder deserves a better salary for her accomplishments this year

Lisa Bluder makes less than half of men’s coach McCaffery despite her extraordinary accomplishments. In her 24 years at Iowa, she has led her team to success and national fame but receives underwhelming pay.
Iowa+head+coach+Lisa+Bluder+looks+into+the+rafters+before+a+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+game+between+No.+4+Iowa+and+Bowling+Green+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Dec.+2%2C+2023.+Saturday+marks+Bluder%E2%80%99s+501st+career+win.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Falcons%2C+99-65.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder looks into the rafters before a women’s basketball game between No. 4 Iowa and Bowling Green at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Saturday marks Bluder’s 501st career win. The Hawkeyes defeated the Falcons, 99-65.

The Iowa women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder deserves pay equal to the college’s men’s team coach.

Bluder is the NCAA Division I women’s basketball’s 14th winningest coach of all time. Alongside star player Caitlin Clark, she has drawn an astonishing amount of national recognition and success to the team this past year.

Yet, Bluder is still tremendously underpaid compared to her male counterparts. For the 2023-24 school year, the men’s coach, Fran McCaffery, is paid an average of $3.2 million, while Bluder is paid a disproportionate salary of $1 million. McCaffery has coached at the University of Iowa for 13 years, while Bluder has coached for 24.

Bluder’s salary simply does not reflect the team’s rampant success under her guidance. She clearly deserves a salary equal to that of McCaffrey.

Pay equality in sports is meant to reflect the effort, skill, and dedication of female athletes and coaches, a step toward breaking down systemic biases that undervalue women’s contributions.

Bluder has dedicated herself to her team, going above and beyond to lead her team to never-before-seen accomplishments for women’s basketball. She has posted a winning record in 22 out of 23 years coaching the Hawkeyes.

As a three-time Big Ten coach, her resume after 24 years is thorough. She coached the 2018-19 women’s basketball team to their first Big Ten Tournament Title since 2001 and the 2021-22 team’s first Big Ten regular season title and Big Ten Tournament Championship.

She coached the 2022-23 Hawkeyes to their first National Championship game appearance in program history and its first Final Four in 30 years.

The last few years have put all eyes on the Hawkeyes. Bluder and her team have set records unmatched by the men’s team, bringing national attention to the UI and women’s basketball and selling out every game this season for the first time in the history of the women’s team. Bluder is bringing massive amounts of attention and fans to the UI.

During March Madness this past year, the UI women’s team played against LSU, drawing in a record-breaking viewership of 9.9 million on ABC, 4.5 million on ESPN, and 6.6 million viewers of the Final Four win over South Carolina.

Bluder and the team sold out Kinnick Stadium in October bringing in a record-breaking attendance of 55, 646 fans. It was the most attended women’s basketball game ever at any level.

Keeping the salaries as unequal as they are now shows that despite the tremendous things a women’s basketball coach can accomplish, she will still be making less than her male counterparts.

Bluder deserves fair compensation for her accomplishments in leading her team and the UI into national fame, breaking record after record this year.

The topic of the gender pay gap in sports is frequently dismissed by those who wrongly believe women do not work as hard as men, yet the reality is that women such as Bluder must work twice as hard and twice as long to get half the income men receive. Bluder’s success warrants a much higher pay.

 


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


 

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About the Contributors
Natalie Nye, Opinions Columnist
(she/her/hers)
Natalie Nye is a fourth-year Journalism/Mass Communication student with a minor in art at the Univeristy of Iowa. She is an opinions columnist at The Daily Iowan and a freelance writer for Little Village magazine. She also has her own blog, called A Very Public Blog.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
(he/him/his)
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.