Welcome to the first when Women’s March Madness!
After four decades of competing in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball League, the NCAA has finally graciously decided to grant their March Madness trademark to women’s basketball players. If you didn’t know this wasn’t the name, I don’t blame you. March Madness is the Madness of March, officially rebranded or not, but the name change is a meaningful step (if forced) in the direction of a much-needed stake-out campaign triggered. by TikTok.
Last year, around this time, as college basketball players prepared to compete in the midterm COVID tournament, Oregon forward Sedona Prince posted a video on TikTok and Twitter that went viral. It showed off the women’s tournament “weight room,” which included a small weight rack as opposed to a full men’s gym setup, and sparked immediate and widespread outrage.
This video alerted the NCAA to the severity of the inequality between the men’s and women’s leagues (read: they can’t keep swapping the women’s league because now the public knows they’re doing it). Sure, the name change is important, but completely independent report authorized after the video was released and showed that “the broadcast and corporate contracts, revenue distribution model, organizational structure, and culture of the NCAA conspired to create, normalize and perpetuating gender inequality”.
Thank God for TikTok. Women coaches and players have been fighting for equal treatment for years and this report has caused some meaningful changes in the monetary distribution and the non-monetary gap. The women’s tournament includes four First Places this year, allowing 68 teams to qualify, as well as a restructured budget that includes improvements to facilities, accommodation, “swag bags” and the gambling experience overall.
And before you rush to comment that women’s games don’t make as much money or attract as many viewers as men’s games, I want to remind you that the NCAA is nominally a non-profit organization dedicated to organizes and regulates college sports. It is not the NBA, and although it is a business, equal treatment of male and female athletes in the same sport is financially viable and considered a necessity. morally. Said to be the mainstay of all things ethical in college sports, it took literally years of demanding equality in the two leagues and public outcry over the failure to do so. failure of the weight room for an investigation like this to be carried out.
Even with the new changes, the NCAA won’t be easy to get going. Earlier this week, three congressional representatives sent a alphabet with NCAA president, Mark Emmert, chastising him for “inadequate progress” in creating fairness among basketball leagues. In the letter, they wrote that no leadership structural changes had been made to address inequality. This week, Buick began airing an ad that played Arike Ogunbowale’s legendary 2018 vibrator with the words “Over 40% of athletes are women, but they get less than 10″ % of media coverage”. (Of course, our regular favorite Darren Rovell decided to comment on the ad and said that women get less coverage during March Madness because of less craziness, less disturbance, and more predictable framing. okay. That’s all. It’s not the same product.” That sounds like what a scripted devil advocate would say in a badly written skit about sexism in sports. Thanks for the commentary as always, Darren.) There is a growing need in both the public and private sectors for the women’s league to receive more investment, coverage and respect.
And again, for all those who like to say that the men’s tournament is more profitable and therefore deserves more money, the NCAA has really undervalued the broadcasting value of the women’s tournament in $6 million a year. The investigation found that it would likely be worth $80 million annually — thirteen times the NCAA’s valuation — by the next rights sale.
NCAA basketball revenue allocation based on solitary about boys’ team performance from schools, which motivates schools to invest more in their boys’ basketball programs to earn more money. It’s a cycle that the NCAA doesn’t seem particularly interested in actually breaking.
This year’s tournament will see some new changes made, but the battle continues for women’s basketball coaches and players in gaining recognition from their organizations.