The NCAA has hired a civil rights law firm to conduct a gender-equity review for its men's and women's basketball tournaments less than a week after the organization wasfor disparities between the two tournaments.
"The NCAA will continue to aggressively address material and impactful differences between the Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Championships," NCAA President Mark Emmet said in a statement Thursday. "While many of the operational issues identified have been resolved, we must continue to make sure we are doing all we can to support gender equity in sports."
The organization hired the law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to examine its policies and provide recommendations on how it can improve. "As part of this effort, we are evaluating the current and previous resource allocation to each championship, so we have a clear understanding of costs, spend and revenue," Emmet said.
Last week, student-athletes, coaches and some professional athletes criticized the NCAA after seeing the women's training facility ahead of the March Madness tournament. They argued the women's facilities were ill-equipped compared to the men's training areas. The difference in the food options and gift bags given to players were also ridiculed.
Ali Kershner, the sports performance coach for Stanford's women's basketball team, posted photos of the women's facilities, writing "In a year defined by a fight for equality, this is a chance to have a conversation and get better."
Oregon forward Sedona Prince also shared a TikTok video of the equipment space provided to women's teams: "It's 2021 and we're still fighting for bits and pieces of equality," she wrote.
In response, NCAA apologized, and its senior vice president of basketball promised the organization would do better. "What we pull together in months and years, we tried to do in weeks and days," Dan Gavitt said. "That's meant some shortcomings. I apologize and feel terrible about anything that falls short of our lofty expectations.