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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Tale of One City

  • The NCAA announced it is considering holding both Division I Final Fours in the same city.
  • The move was recommended by the Gender Equity Review.
Photo: Stephen Slade-UConn Athletics/Design: Alex Brooks

During last Thursday’s Congressional hearing on NIL, the NCAA announced it is considering holding both Division I Final Fours in the same city — a recommendation from the Gender Equity Review released in August. 

The day prior, the women’s tournament gained access to use “March Madness” branding starting in 2022. 

But lawmakers and one witness still harshly criticized the NCAA’s dismal treatment of women’s sports during the hearing. 

The Division I Women’s and Men’s Basketball Committees have been weighing the possibility of combining Final Fours for the past two months.

  • In the announcement, Nina King, the chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, called gender equity in basketball a “priority.”
  • They “will spend time exploring ways to develop an overarching goal of a combined championship that boosts student-athlete experience and fan and stakeholder engagement.”
  • The committees voted unanimously to hold off on combining Final Fours until 2027, since sites have already been announced up to 2026. Minneapolis and New Orleans will host the 2022 women’s and men’s Final Fours, respectively.

But this plan isn’t exactly what the Gender Equity Review suggested. 

The report asked that Final Fours be combined by the 2023 tournaments at the latest “so as to continue building on this positive momentum.” 

If the NCAA truly wants to improve as soon as possible, it might want to heed the report’s advice.

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