NCAA underestimates ladies’s basketball, one report finds: NPR

Fans pose with a Final Four logo before a college basketball game during the Final Four round of the NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in April. AJ Mast / AP Hide caption

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AJ mast / AP

Fans pose with a Final Four logo before a college basketball game during the Final Four round of the NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in April.

AJ mast / AP

A much-anticipated external review found that the NCAA treated women’s games unfairly and both underestimated and underfunded them for years.

Led by the New York law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, the report recommends reforms to the NCAA’s basketball programs. It calls for a combined Final Four tournament and changes to the governance structure of the organization, media contracts and revenue calculations.

The review was initiated in March when the NCAA came under fire after University of Oregon basketball player Sedona Prince posted a video of the minimal equipment in the women’s weight room at the organization’s championships. The video, which immediately rose to prominence on TikTok, showed that the NCAA was not providing the Division I women’s basketball teams with the lavish amenities it provided for the men’s tournaments. The NCAA commissioned the review shortly thereafter.

NCAA March Madness facilities for men and women, segregated and unequal, spark turmoil

Now the 113-page report has found evidence of “systemic problems of gender inequality” at the NCAA.

“With regard to women’s basketball, the NCAA has failed to live up to its stated commitment to ‘diversity, inclusion and gender equality among its student athletes, coaches and administrators,’” the report said.

The report describes the undervaluation of women’s teams as “the misrepresentation that year after year women’s basketball is destined to be a ‘money loser’. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Noting a growing television audience and “huge fan base of female gamers on social media,” it says the NCAA could negotiate much higher fees for coverage of the women’s games.

The report found numerous cases of gender inequality in the NCAA’s treatment of women’s teams, including the provision of less effective COVID-19 tests for women’s teams and low-quality food, while concurrently with Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and Buffalo Wild Wings according to corporate Sponsorship for food was sought to feed the men’s tournament to players.

Under fire, the NCAA apologizes and reveals new weight room for the women's tournament

The NCAA spent $ 2.4 million on signage for the men’s tournament, but only $ 783,000 on signage for the women’s event, adding to the list of things that make the two events “look and feel” very different the report says. The organization repeatedly denied organizers of women’s tournaments the use of the March Madness trademark on any promotional material.

After the inequalities in the women’s tournament were exposed this spring, the NCAA apologized, but also pointed out that women’s games make less money than men’s. However, the review found that the NCAA had “skewed” the calculations the organization published in a data sheet alleging that women’s basketball was losing them money.

The external review found that systemic disparities were due in part to the basic financial agreement for the NCAA and its member schools, which the report said “seeks to maximize the value and support of the Division I men’s basketball championship as a primary source.” the funding of the NCAA and its membership. “

A statement from the NCAA Board of Governors said the organization is “fully committed to an equitable experience in its championships.”

“We know this has not always been the case and the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship instance is an important driver for us to improve our championship experience so it doesn’t repeat itself,” the statement said. “This report provides useful advice on how to improve our championships.”

The statement added that the board had directed the NCAA president “to act urgently to address all organizational issues,” and urged him to start work this week to outline the NCAA’s next steps.

Josie Fischels is an intern at the NPR News Desk.

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