- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
A law firm hired to investigate gender equity concerns at NCAA championship events said in a review Tuesday that the association has not lived up to its own standards and recommended a combined Final Four for men's and women's basketball at the same site.
In addition to questions concerning the NCAA's continued operation and relevance there's this:
A law firm hired to investigate gender equity concerns at NCAA championship events released a blistering report Tuesday that recommended holding the men's and women's Final Fours at the same site and offering financial incentives to schools to improve their women's basketball programs.
The review by Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP had been highly anticipated. The firm was hired in March after the NCAA failed to provide similar amenities to the teams in the men's and women's Division I basketball tournaments, a situation that blew up on social media amid player complaints and prompted apologies from NCAA executives, including president Mark Emmert.
"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 113-page report concludes.
The report noted disparities were not confined to just this year's tournaments and that the bedrock financial deal for the NCAA and its member schools is partly to blame: Kaplan said the NCAA's structure and systems "are designed to maximize the value of and support to the Division I Men's Basketball Championship as the primary source of funding for the NCAA and its membership."
NCAA revenues surpassed $1 billion in the year before the pandemic, and almost $900 million of that was tied to the media rights deal with CBS and Turner for the men's basketball tournament.
The women's tournament, meanwhile, is part of a package with more than two dozen other NCAA championships that ESPN owns and pays the NCAA about $34 million per year for, according to the report. But according to an assessment done for Kaplan by a team of sports media and marketing experts, the women's basketball tournament will be worth between $81 million and $112 million annually beginning in 2025.