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Second NCAA Gender Equity Report Shows Spending Disparities

The Associated Press

The NCAA spends more on average on male athletes than on female athletes, especially when it comes to the “mere handful of championships” considered to be revenue streams, according to a new report.

The law firm hired by the NCAA to investigate the fairness concerns released its 153-page report Tuesday evening, which includes a series of recommendations to narrow the gap between all sports tournaments. This is the firm’s second report, following the August 3 report that recommended how to equalize the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

The NCAA has implemented some of them, including allowing the women’s tournament to use the term “March Madness”.

“The same structural and cultural issues that impact Division I basketball permeate the NCAA and have shaped its treatment of other championships,” the report said. “The heavy reliance of NCAA members on the money they receive from NCAA income distributions has put pressure on the NCAA to maximize that income and minimize expenses so that more funds can be distributed to members. “

Tuesday’s report shows spending by Division I and participant at national championships, excluding basketball, was about $ 1,700 less for women than men in 2018-19. The NCAA spent $ 4,285 per male participant compared to $ 2,588 per female participant.

The gap is even larger in the six unisex sports such as wrestling and beach volleyball – $ 2,229 more per student-athlete for men’s championships than for women’s championships.

The review also found that sports combined with their championships fared better in terms of gender equality.

“We have seen that combining at least part of the men’s and women’s championship for a given sport allows for more coordinated planning, increases equity in the goods and services, facilities and resources provided at championships and eliminates or reduces disparities. between the ‘look’ and the feel of tournaments, ”the report says.

Another part of the report shows that the NCAA does not have the infrastructure in place to encourage equal sponsorships at all championships.

“The report identified important recommendations, which we will prioritize and sequence so that they can be implemented for effective change,” the NCAA Board of Governors said in a statement posted on the NCAA website. institution. “These changes may require changing budgets and business models while weighing the balance between resources spent on championships that generate income and resources for those that don’t.”

The review was conducted by Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, who was hired in March after the NCAA failed to provide similar equipment to teams in the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The situation exploded on social media amid player complaints and prompted an apology from NCAA executives, including President Mark Emmert.

Tuesday’s report also recommended:

– Establish a system for collecting and maintaining standardized data on the 90 championships which will facilitate future reviews and audits on gender equity.

– Removed gender modifiers from tournament and championship branding.

– Increase the number of senior executives in the NCAA championship structure to improve gender equity oversight.

– Drive a “zero-based” budget for each championship over the next five years to ensure that gender differences are necessary, appropriate and equitable.

The report estimated that ESPN was underpaying the NCAA for tournament rights to 29 championships, “causing the association to lose substantial and crucial revenue.” For example, the company estimated that the annual broadcast rights for women’s basketball in 2025 would be worth $ 81 million to $ 112 million, which is “several times more” than what the network currently grants the NCAA for all 29 championships. .

“The structure of the broadcast agreements is holding back the growth of sports other than men’s basketball and the management team have not been able to recognize and address inequalities in the treatment of student-athletes in time. timely, “said Rich Ensor, commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. noted.

The August report pointed out that staffing was an issue for the championships, with men’s basketball having more than women’s hoops. Some sports like baseball and hockey also had more staff than softball and women’s hockey, according to the latest review, although it showed that the women’s volleyball and football championships were more staffed than men.

The report states that there “does not appear to be a formal or consistent definition” of the three categories that the NCAA uses to decide on championship staffing – “fairness,” which means income-generating or could be revenue-generating. income; “Growth”, which would have the potential to earn money over time; and “supported”, or one who loses money.

“There remains little understanding among NCAA members and even among NCAA staff about how personnel support is distributed across championships,” the report said.

The law firm also said it could not make direct comparisons between championships because “the NCAA does not keep its records of expenses, ticket sales, equipment or other items in a standardized way. which would allow such an analysis “.

Fan festivals were another topic where there was gender inequality, according to the report. The festival for female football fans is larger than the festival for men, but it is an outlier. The men’s lacrosse and baseball festivals have more sponsors, music, and games than the women’s, the company said, and the NCAA spends more on them. The 2019 Baseball Fan Festival cost about $ 274,800, compared to $ 53,900 for the softball equivalent.


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