Less than a week after receiving criticism for its unequal treatment of male and female athletes, the NCAA revealed that it has retained a civil rights law firm to conduct a gender-equity probe into its basketball tournaments for men and women.
The initiative seeks to address a complaint by a University of Oregon varsity player who uploaded a video that shows the unequal resources provided to male and female athletes inside a training facility.
NCAA President Mark Emmert stressed that the association seeks to resolve “material and impactful differences” affecting players competing in the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships.
He revealed that they have engaged the law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to assist them in examining the association’s policies and identifying any other inequities among competitors.
“While many of the operational issues identified have been resolved, we must continue to make sure we are doing all we can to support gender equity in sports,” the president stated.
“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,” he added.
The preliminary assessment is expected to be released in April, while the final report will be completed this summer.
Root of the Issue
The NCAA faced a strong backlash from social media after Oregon forward Sedona Prince posted a video taken inside a weight training facility on TikTok and Twitter illustrating how female athletes were only given a minuscule rack of free weights, while their male counterparts had access to a large training facility with a wide variety of exercise machines.
“I got something to show y’all. So, for the NCAA March Madness, the biggest tournament in college basketball for women… This is our weight room. If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you are a part of it,” Prince said.
Even Ali Kershner, sports performance coach of the Stanford basketball team, uploaded a photo confirming the vast difference between how women’s and men’s training rooms were set up.
She said that the issue needs to be addressed immediately because women athletes deserve the same opportunities given to men.
“In a year defined by a fight for equality, this is a chance to have a conversation and get better,” she stated.
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