As NCAA’s 2022 March Madness begins, we are pleased to see that several recommendations from Kaplan Hecker & Fink’s review of gender equity issues have already been implemented.
In 2021, the NCAA retained Kaplan Hecker to conduct a comprehensive and thorough external review of gender equity issues in connection with the NCAA, focusing on the NCAA championships. Our work included speaking with more than 600 NCAA staff, committee members, and external stakeholders, including commissioners, coaches, and student-athletes, culminating in two reports (one focused on basketball alone) that describe these issues and outline our recommendations. You can read both reports here.
The NCAA has taken several steps towards greater equity since our review was submitted, including the use of March Madness branding for the women’s tournament. Other changes include a larger 68-team bracket for the women’s tournament to match the men’s, budget oversight to ensure equity, and identical gifts and other perks for the men’s and women’s teams. There have also been multiple organizational changes, including quarterly meetings between the men’s and women’s committees and increased staffing for the women’s tournament. We are hopeful that the NCAA will continue to implement other of the 25 recommendations from our review.