The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has hired a Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP law firm to address gender equity issues after stark discrepancies between men’s and women’s workout facilities were highlighted on social media last week.
“The NCAA will continue to aggressively address material and impactful differences between the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”
In a virtual Twitter discussion with AP News, several top NCAA women basketball players highlighted the persisting inequalities across the association, including lower-quality swag bags and food.
“The men have everything in that weight room and we have yoga mats,” Aliyah Boston, an All-American athlete at the University of South Carolina, told AP. “What are we supposed to do with that? I’m glad we got a body wash, but they got a whole store.”
A’ja Wilson, a player on the Las Vegas Aces Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team, also spoke out against the NCAA weight room inequity, tweeting that the “situation is beyond disrespectful.”
3 weeks in a bubble and no access to DBs > 30’s until the sweet 16?
In a year defined by a fight for equality this is a chance to have a conversation and get better. pic.twitter.com/jFQVv1PlUt
— Ali Kershner, MS, CSCS (@alikershner) March 18, 2021
On March 19, Lynn Holzman, senior vice president of NCAA women’s basketball and a former women’s basketball student-athlete, stated that the association “fell short” of its preparation of the 64 teams participating in the March Madness basketball tournament.
“While it is still very early in the process, we hope to have these preliminary assessments in late April, with a final report this summer after all of our championships are completed,” Emmett stated about Kaplan Hecker’s review.
For the first time ever, every game of the NCAA women’s tournament is scheduled to broadcast nationally instead of regionally this year.