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Report: NCAA Inequitably Reliant on Men’s Basketball

August 4, 2021

An external review of gender equity in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, released Tuesday, describes the college sports governing body as highly financially reliant on its Division I men’s basketball tournament and rife with gender disparities as a result.

The NCAA commissioned the review in March when it faced renewed calls for change after coaches and players argued this year’s men’s basketball tournament received disproportionate resources -- such as better facilities and more marketing, according to The New York Times -- compared to the women’s competition.

The report by the law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP confirmed that the men’s tournament was better resourced. It identified a spending gap of approximately $35 million between the budgets for the men’s and women’s competitions in 2019. The review concluded that the NCAA prioritizes Division I men’s basketball “over everything else in ways that create, normalize and perpetuate gender inequities.” It also noted that the NCAA could draw more funding from the television rights to the women’s tournament than it currently does, and that not doing so hampers the women’s competition as a source of revenue.

A statement from the NCAA Board of Governors said the report would be “useful guidance” for improvement.

“The NCAA Board of Governors is wholly committed to an equitable experience among its championships,” the statement read. “We know that has not always been the case and the instance of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship is an important impetus for us to improve our championship experience so it is not repeated.”

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