A few weeks ago, we got reports of the women’s basketball tournament and the lack of, ummm...any effort at pretending the women are regarded as more than an afterthought.
Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention pic.twitter.com/t0DWKL2YHR— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 19, 2021
Here are the differences in amenities/provisions between the Women’s & Men’s NCAA Tournament I’ve seen so far— AJ McCord (@AJ_McCord) March 19, 2021
- Weight room/equipment
- Swag Bags
Photos from: @Cpav15, @sedonaprince_, @danhenry3, @alikershner pic.twitter.com/2YfCeXaJNn
To their credit, the NCAA did issue a “heartfelt statement” once they were called out.
NCAA president Mark Emmert, speaking at the women's Final Four: "It's pretty self-evident that we dropped the ball in supporting our women's athletes, and we can't do that."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 31, 2021
They even “fixed” things and gave the women a real weight room...#maybe
I mean, look at those pink walls!!!!
And then you see what the men got without having to throw a fit.
I mean...at least the weights aren't pink. Why not just give them the same equipment as the men? pic.twitter.com/EqP1rVM52X— Gwen Moran (@gwenmoran) March 20, 2021
OK. Fine. Maybe they [the NCAA] didn’t have time to learn their lesson. Maybe they really couldn’t pull off an equitable tournament without advance notice...
BUT THEY STILL HAVE TIME BEFORE THE VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT!!
Corn Nation’s own amazing VB writer asked permission to write a scathing article about the terrible decision to only have 48 teams in the NCAA volleyball tourney (and if you read the article you will see that she was really NICE for someone who thought she was mad enough to ask permission to write the article!)
There Should be 64 Teams in the Volleyball NCAA Tournament - Corn Nation
The decision made months ago is changeable and it should be changed
T.J. Meagher, committee chair for the D1 WVB NCAA selection committee, stated that they NEVER CONSIDERED expanding the field back to 64. They didn’t even think about it.
Not only did the volleyball tournament stick with 48 teams, but we got treated to more reporting that showed that women’s sports are a mere afterthought to the NCAA. These tweets came out on Thursday [April 8]:
Just got word that the first two rounds of the @NCAAVolleyball Tournament will NOT have broadcast crews/commentators.— Emily Ehman (@emilyehman) April 8, 2021
This is absolutely unacceptable. Teams have been preparing for over a year and a half for this opportunity. We need to be better. @NCAA
I'd like to add that all matches are being played in a convention center where as of yesterday, coaches were told there will be *no locker rooms* until the Elite Eight. Players will have to change out of warm ups into jerseys on the BENCH. @NCAAVolleyball— Emily Ehman (@emilyehman) April 8, 2021
If John Cook says it is so, #ThenItIsSo. It is just not safe to have athletes jumping over and over on cement covered in sport court. The impact on a player’s knees and back each time they land in this situation is tremendous. The NCAA did have a response (several of them) which do rebut some of those assertions:
And more from Emily Ehman...
“There is no requirement to produce coverage of or provide live commentary” does NOT make it acceptable.— Emily Ehman (@emilyehman) April 9, 2021
As for the “changing rooms” & felt below the sport court, from my reporting, it’s my understanding this is new within the last 24 hours. https://t.co/gztPXyFgRe
A forward-thinking organization would recognize they should to expand their coverage since fans will not be allowed at these events. This does not appear to be the case.
Do you really think that the NCAA thought they could get by with less-than-minimum facilities or did they really have plans to make this tournament sort-of-acceptable in terms of accommodations?!? #YouCanDecide
Women’s sports are increasing in popularity while other (male) sports are struggling to keep their viewership. We recognize there is a long way to go, but the NCAA can’t be so blind as to not realize that they may have milked the college football and men’s basketball cash cow as much as they could [oh, yes they can]. Maybe there is a new appreciation for women’s sports that...ahahahahaha! [Sorry, I almost typed something serious there].
Final Four, SAG Awards: TV Ratings for April 3-4, 2021 | Hollywood Reporter
ESPN scored a rare ratings increase for TV sports with its women's Final Four coverage.
NCAA title game TV ratings down for men, up for women - The Washington Post
Television ratings for the men’s NCAA basketball championship game Monday were down from 2019, when the tournament was last staged. However, Sunday’s Stanford-Arizona showdown drew the most viewers for a women’s final in seven years.
The bottom line is that the NCAA seems to be ‘getting by’ and cost-cutting with women’s sports when there is upward potential to be seen in terms of growing fans and appealing to half (at least the last time I checked) of the population of the planet.
BUT ISN’T THE NCAA ALL ABOUT PRESERVING AMATEURISM?!?
So maybe, the NCAA isn’t the money-hungry, exploitative organization we’ve been told they are? Maybe they are trying to preserve the delicate amateurism of the ladies and protect them from...their ability to earn money?!?
Eight of the Ten Most Followed NCAA Elite 8 Basketball Players Are Women
If athletes had full control of their NIL rights, the top women’s basketball players in this year’s Elite Eight would have greater earning power than the top men.
At least the men and women are finally equal at something in the eyes of the NCAA.
When was the last time you said to yourself, “Wow, the NCAA did a really good job with XXXX!” where “XXXX” was an event, an issue, a ruling, a decision, Mark Emmert’s haircut... anything?
The NCAA is not “forward-thinking”. They react to everything. They drag their heels, but they’ve been doing that for years. This year it appears they have stopped pretending to care, but instead bet that sports fans will continue to buy into their propaganda about being all about the student-athlete, and giving a single damn about those student-athletes unless they can make a buck off them.
They are a widely disliked (putting it mildly) organization. This year they could have done a little extra work and perhaps gained some good faith from college sports fans. They didn’t bother.
One could argue they’re too busy worrying about the multitude of lawsuits against them and don’t have time to worry about these silly girls and their non-revenue sports.
One could also argue that the people who run the NCAA, college presidents, are perfectly fine with the way things are as long as they get their monetary distribution. In fact, they’re probably happy with the anger being directed at the NCAA because it’s not being directed at them for charging the same tuition rates for online learning that they do for in-person learning and holding back refunds for room and board until they were sued.
It would be easy to conclude the NCAA needs new leadership, but you’d just be replacing Mark Emmert with another lackey. Until the colleges themselves decide they’re going to be serious about change, the NCAA will continue to be the piece of shit organization it is now.
We should just stop talking about the NCAA. They aren’t listening and they clearly are not aligned with what so many believe is right. Let’s start working on a solution to this inequality and create or find a parent organization that will give women’s athletics the space, time and voice they have earned.