The NCAA has fallen short of upholding its commitment to gender equity, spending more on male athletes on average than female ones, according a new report.
The law firm hired by the NCAA to investigate equity issues released its 153-page report Tuesday night, which includes a series of recommendations to improve the gap. It’s the second report from the New York-based firm, following its Aug. 3 one that had recommendations on how to equalize men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The NCAA has implemented some of those, including allowing the women’s tournament to use the term “March Madness.”
The latest report shows spending per Division I and national championship participants, excluding basketball, was about $1,700 less for women’s participants than men’s in 2018-19. The NCAA spent $4,285 per men’s participant versus $2,588 on women.
The gap is even greater in the six single-gender sports that include wrestling or beach volleyball — $2,229 more per student-athlete for the men’s championships than for the women’s.
The review also found that sports with combined their championships have fared better on gender equality.
“We have seen that combining at least some portion of the men’s and women’s championship for a given sport enables more coordinated planning, increases equity in the goods and services, facilities, and resources provided at the championships and eliminates or reduces disparities between the ‘look and feel’ of the tournaments,” the report said.
Another piece of the report shows NCAA doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to encourage equal sponsorships at all championships.
“The report identified important recommendations, which we will prioritize and sequence so they can be implemented for impactful change,” the NCAA Board of Governors said in a statement on the institution’s website. “These changes may require altering budgets and business models while evaluating the balance between resources devoted to championships that produce revenue and resources for those that do not.”
The review was done by Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, which was hired in March after the NCAA failed to provide similar amenities to the teams in the men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments. The situation blew up on social media amid player complaints and prompted apologies from NCAA executives, including President Mark Emmert.
Tuesday’s report also recommended:
— Establishing a system for collecting and maintaining standardized data across all 90 championships that will facilitate future gender equity reviews and audits.
— Increasing the number of senior staff in the NCAA’s championships structure to improve oversight of gender equity.
— Conducting a “zero-based” budget for each championship over the next five years to ensure gender differences are necessary, appropriate and equitable.
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