INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The NCAA says it has hired an outside law firm to conduct a review of the gender equity of its championships after being criticized for the different resources provided to men and women players during March Madness.
University of Oregon basketball player Sedona Prince was one of the players who pointed out the disparities. In a now viral video, she showed how the men’s weight room was drastically better and more equipped than the women’s facility.
Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention pic.twitter.com/t0DWKL2YHR
— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 19, 2021
NCAA Vice President for Women’s Basketball responded the next day, saying the organization “fell short this year in what (they’ve) been doing to prepare” for the teams to play in San Antonio, where the women’s tournament is being held.
Two days after Prince took to social media to point out the differences, she posted another video to provide an update on changes the NCAA had made. In the clip, female players were seen celebrating a more equipped weight room.
Social media is powerful. Thank you for all of y’all’s support pic.twitter.com/YR5ZNwywv6
— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 20, 2021
Now that many of the operational issues have been resolved, the NCAA says it’s going to continue to make sure it’s doing all it can do to support gender equity in sports.
In a statement released Thursday, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the organization’s effort to address gender equity will include evaluating the current and previous resource allocation to each championship, so it has a clear understanding of costs, spending and revenue.
“Furthermore, we are examining all championships in all three Divisions to identify any other gaps that need to be addressed, both qualitatively and quantitively, to achieve gender equity,” wrote Emmert.
To assist, the NCAA says it’s retaining the law firm of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to evaluate its practices and policies and provide recommendations on steps it can take to get better.
“I have made clear that Kaplan Hecker and the staff supporting them will have direct access to the Board of Governors to discuss any issue that may arise during their work while Kaplan Hecker is conducting this review and assessment,” said Emmert.
Emmert said the NCAA hopes to have preliminary assessments in late April, with a final report this summer after all of our championships are completed.