USC Cycling is hosting a race for the first time in 6 years, with collegiate fields lined up for the Rosena Ranch Circuit Race on Saturday 3/2 and the first ever USC Brackett Grand Prix on 3/3. Everything is nearly set for race day.
In addition to Western Collegiate Cycling Conference racing, we are looking to build Brackett into Pro-level race, with high profile pros competing for real money. Enough teams have expressed interest in this race that the prize money for the top men’s race is $2000. However, the prize money for the women’s field is currently only $500.
Why are the women paid less? That is an existential question plaguing professional cycling, and it trickles down to amateur and collegiate cycling. There are fewer female riders, fewer female teams and promoters are less likely to provide big money for a race that can potentially only draw 12 women. At most races, if the number of registrants surpasses a given threshold, then the prize money doubles. This is how we first modeled our prize structure.
However, this traditional model misses the point. If women knew that equal prize money were up for grabs, teams would show up in full force. But many racers, both men and women, often wait until the week before a race to register, especially if they are local and don’t have to plan travel. So, women are checking the registration page in the days leading up to a race, weighing the costs of registering against the possibility of their winnings. Field-contingent prize money holds many back from registering.
USC Cycling is committed to helping even the playing field between men and women's cycling and we wish to guarantee equal prize money for both groups at the USC Brackett Grand Prix. The race logistics are nearly final, generous sponsors have already pitched in and, under the usual model of a USA Cycling race, everything should be all set. Except that the prize purses need to be even.
We are $1500 short of the goal. If you are an alum, cycling enthusiast, Trojan Family member or supporter of equal pay, please consider a donation.