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Lawmakers Criticize NCAA Gender Equity Progress

  • Federal lawmakers aren’t satisfied with the gender equity improvements the NCAA has made.
  • On Monday, three House democrats sent a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert saying the governing body has “failed to take meaningful steps to correct deficiencies.”
NCAA
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks

Federal lawmakers aren’t satisfied with the gender equity improvements the NCAA has made to Division I women’s basketball and other sports.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), and Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) sent NCAA President Mark Emmert a letter on Monday stating the NCAA has “failed to take meaningful steps to correct deficiencies.”

  • The letter criticized improvements across sports, noting the NCAA “appears to have prioritized implementing recommendations related to higher-visibility college sports.”
  • The NCAA has made numerous fixes for basketball, but the letter called them “short-term steps to avoid repeating the public relations catastrophe.”
  • It criticized the NCAA’s lack of commitment to acting on several big-picture structural changes recommended by the 2021 gender equity review.
  • It obtained emails providing new detail about how NCAA officials declined outside companies’ help during the 2021 tournament, as Front Office Sports previously reported regarding weight rooms.

Last year, lawmakers demanded that the NCAA ameliorate failures. This group followed up in July 2021.

Status Update

“Although our work is not done, we are focused on the many improvements made since [last year] that provide students across all our championships with a lifelong memorable experience,” the NCAA said in a statement to FOS. 

One recommendation, hosting both Final Fours in the same city, is off the table until 2031. As for several other major changes, “no doors are closed at this point,” NCAA VP of women’s basketball Lynn Holzman told FOS in late February.

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