Sadly, the NCAA was leaving lots of money on the table, because Women's College ball is worth a lot more money than they ever realized.There is no counting how many thank-you notes Sedona Prince might receive this month: from the four additional teams that will participate in the now 68-team women’s basketball tournament; from the participating players, whose gift bags will now be identical to those received by their male counterparts; from the new employees the N.C.A.A. hired to beef up its women’s tournament staff; and from the tournament referees, who will now be paid the same as the officials who call the men’s game.
And the hat tips may not stop there.
They could come from the coaches, administrators, fans and other women’s sports champions who for years have cajoled or cried out — even from postage-stamp-size soap boxes — for the N.C.A.A. women’s basketball tournament to receive support similar to what was given to the hugely popular and lucrative men’s tournament.
Prince, a junior forward at the University of Oregon, accomplished last March what generations before her could not when she posted to social media a video she had cobbled together highlighting the disparity between the tournaments in a way that could not be explained away.
It showed how the men, whose 2021 tournament was anchored in Indianapolis because of the coronavirus pandemic, were provided an expansive ballroom filled with free weights, hand weights and machine weights as far as the eye could see. The women? The workout facility in San Antonio, where their tournament was centered, had a thigh-high tower of 12 hand weights — and plenty of empty space.
The 38-second clip ricocheted around social media, and included one accelerating assist from the N.B.A. star Stephen Curry, who retweeted it to his three million followers, adding, “wow-come on now!” (Within days, Prince’s posts had been seen more than 13 million times on TikTok and Twitter.)
Soon a spotlight was illuminating other inequities between the tournaments — in virus testing, food, branding — reemphasizing how the N.C.A.A. has treated the women’s game as an afterthought and its participants as second-class citizens compared with the men. The outrage came at a moment when gender and racial equity was getting greater attention in sports and other areas of American society. It prompted the N.C.A.A.’s president, Mark Emmert, who first tried to explain away some of the differences, to apologize and commission an external gender equity review.
Five months later, a report by the law firm of the civil rights lawyer Roberta A. Kaplan detailed how the N.C.A.A.’s broadcast and corporate contracts, revenue distribution model, organizational structure and culture had conspired to create, normalize and perpetuate gender inequities between the two tournaments.
The 114-page report, which also proposed a litany of remedies, began by acknowledging Prince’s video, which it called the equivalent of the shot heard round the world.
Football, Baseball, Curling... All the Important Ones!
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Great NYT article: