Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Legal Report Finds Systemic Gender Inequity at NCAA Against Women's Basketball and Recommends Organizational Reforms
A highly anticipated external review has found that the NCAA has treated women's games unfairly, both undervaluing and underfunding them for years.
Led by 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 organization's leadership structure, media contracts, and revenue calculations.
The review was prompted in March, when the NCAA came under fire after a video of the minimal equipment in the women's weight room at the organization's championships was posted by University of Oregon basketball player Sedona Prince. The video, which immediately gained traction on TikTok, showed that the NCAA did not provide the women's Division I basketball teams the lavish amenities that it did for the men's tournaments. The NCAA commissioned the review shortly afterward.
"With respect to women's basketball, the NCAA has not lived up to its stated commitment to 'diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators,' " the report states.
The report describes the undervaluing of women's teams as "perpetuating a mistaken narrative that women's basketball is destined to be a 'money loser' year after year. Nothing could be further from the truth."
It notes increasing television audiences and female players' "huge followings on social media," and says the NCAA could negotiate far higher fees for coverage of the women's games.