- Disparities in the ncaa’s administration of the 2021 men’s and women’s college basketball tournament were widely criticized.
- A report from the fall of 2021 made 25 recommendations to increase gender equity in college basketball.
- A progress report released Wednesday found that nine of those recommendations have been adequately addressed.
The NCAA has made progress in addressing gender equity in its men’s and women’s basketball championships, but there is still work to be done, according to a progress report released Wednesday.
The ncaa commissioned the third-party review after an October 2021 report slammed the association for disparities in the treatment of male and female collegiate athletes. that report, by kaplan hecker & fink llp, made 25 recommendations to increase gender equity.
The progress report found that nine of those recommendations have been adequately addressed.
signs of progress cited in the report include:
- the expansion of the “march madness” brand to include the women’s and men’s basketball tournaments in 2022
- the decision to expand the women’s tournament to 68 teams
- the creation of the “top four” event, similar to the men’s opening rounds
Another improvement was a more than 30% increase in the budget for the women’s tournament, including $6.1 million in gender equity improvements, according to the progress report.
“The findings of this evaluation illustrate our commitment to promoting gender equity in the ncaa championships. Through a spirit of collaboration, significant gains were made in the past year. We’ve said it before: our work is not done . gender equality must remain a top priority for college sports leaders and we look forward to continuing to support these efforts in the future,” ncaa president mark emmert said in a prepared statement.
The report also listed areas where progress is being made but has not been completed. those areas include:
- an increase in title ix staff
- implementation of gender equality progress reports every five years
- acquisition of new corporate sponsors for the women’s tournament
- seeking marketing opportunities that benefit both the men’s and women’s tournaments
still to be addressed, according to the progress report, are:
- the hiring of a commercial director for basketball tournaments
- organizational structure
- gender equity performance awards
- the organization of both tournaments in the same city
- creating a revenue distribution plan for the women’s tournament similar to that for the men’s tournament
The company that studied the ncaa and issued the progress report asked not to be identified, an ncaa official told the associated press.
the progress report followed an initial gender equity study completed for the ncaa by kaplan hecker & fink llp in August 2021. That report came after public outcry over unequal treatment of the men’s and women’s basketball teams in their 2021 championship tournaments, and included recommendations for change.
Kaplan Hecker then issued a second report in October 2021 that criticized the NCAA for its focus on revenue-generating sports, citing it as the leading cause of gender disparities in college sports. The report also said structural deficiencies within the NCAA, demands for media contracts, and a delay in recognizing women’s competitions also contributed.
The second report looked beyond basketball and included 84 championships in 23 sports, including baseball, beach volleyball, bowling, cross country, and field hockey.
division i basketball tournaments are vitally important to the ncaa. Most of the organization’s revenue comes from its contract for the television rights to the Division I men’s basketball tournament. The contract with CBS and Turner Sports paid the NCAA $850 million in 2021 and was scheduled to pay $870 million in 2022.
the contract for the women’s tournament was sold in 2011 for $500 million to espn and expires at the end of the 2023-2024 season. but with the expansion of the women’s tournament and its inclusion under the march madness brand, the next television deal is likely to be worth many more millions of dollars.