Federal lawmakers have used the popularity of March Madness to spotlight their own college sports reform efforts. One major issue: gender equity.
On March 14, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), and Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) sent NCAA president Mark Emmert a letter criticizing the governing body for its equity efforts.
Thursday, they took their criticism a step further — introducing a bill called the Gender Equity in College Sports Commission Act.
- The bill would assemble a committee to scrutinize equity in the NCAA.
- The bipartisan group, composed of 16 lawmakers, would investigate for 12-18 months.
- It would make recommendations for how the NCAA could change, and how the federal government could “improve oversight.”
“The NCAA has made pathetic progress towards correcting the deeply misogynistic attitudes and treatment of the women’s teams compared to the men’s teams. And this continues even after the NCAA was put on notice,” Speier said.
Since Division I basketball inequities were exposed last year, the NCAA has made a number of improvements — though several long-term changes haven’t been acted upon yet.
Lawmakers’ Big Stage
On Tuesday, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill related to reforming the NCAA’s infractions process.
Wednesday, Booker and several other Democrats hosted a virtual panel on college athlete empowerment, health and safety, and gender equity.