Women’s March Madness Branding – A Long Time Coming 

This past March the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) received criticism when photos and videos surfaced of training facility comparisons between the women’s and men’s tournaments. This past month, the NCAA has implemented a recommended change following a gender equity review of their basketball tournaments; moving forward, they will now be using the March Madness branding synonymous with the men’s tournament beginning in 2022.  

Video footage of the disparity between training facilities as shared by Oregon’s Sedona Prince

This process began after a law firm conducted a review of the disparities between the 2021 men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments; this report was over 100 pages. Social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok gave female athletes an opportunity to share the inequality they were facing. The NCAA tournament attempted to defend the allegations by stating that the equipment lack was due to limited spacing, however, players commented that spacing was not an issue. Oregon basketball player Sedona Prince debunked their defence stating: “if you aren’t upset about this problem, then you are part of it.”  

Professional basketball has long been the domain of men; hHowever, the way that women have been advocating against the inequality demonstrates how change in sport can occur. Female athletes have been able to remove or substantially lower the barriers within sport; the existence of these skilled and strong women demanding recognition and equal access is important to creating change.  

The specifics on how the March Madness branding will be applied to the women’s tournament “are still being developed,” according to the NCAA. However, a substantial first step is the NCAA are moving to a “zero-based budgeting method” for both tournaments, which would provide both teams an equitable opportunity to challenge the existing stereotypes in sport today.  

Moving forward, women athletes should deal with less gender inequality issues and be able to focus on the sport itself.  

MadsL29 

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