Men’s Vs. Women’s March Madness

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March is arguably one of the best times of the year for sports with the NCAA College Basketball tournament. When you think of March Madness, you probably think of making your bracket, surrounding the TV to watch the games and rooting for your favorite team. You also probably think of men. Upon googling March Madness-related questions or stats, results about the men’s tournament are what you’re going to get, if you want women’s stats, you’re going to have to specify.

The TikTok That Started it All

Sedona Prince, an Oregon Basketball superstar posted a TikTok back in 2019 that exposed the weight room her team was allotted during the tournament. This “weight room” consisted of dumbbells and yoga mats. The NCAA attempted to claim that this act of inequality was based on the fact that there was not enough room in their San Antonio facilities, but that was quickly negated. Rightfully so, this sparked a much-needed movement on equalizing the men’s and women’s tournaments.

Photo from @Sedonerrr on TikTok
Change Enacted

This year is the 40th anniversary of the women’s tournament and the first year that there are as many teams playing in the women’s tournament as in the men’s — 68 to be exact. This TikTok influenced, or forced, the NCAA to commission a law firm to review the gender equity involved in the tournament. A 114-page report was written about the immense differences between the two tournaments in many different regards. The marketing, the hospitality of the players, the overall treatment, even the covid- related procedures during the pandemic — it was all in favor of the men’s teams.

Due to these discrepancies, the women competing this month now get the same merch as the men, have open “family lounges” in their hotels and have more decorations geared towards the teams at their games.

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Show Me the Money

The men’s tournament is no small business. It is estimated that around $770 million per year is spent for the rights of the tournament. The women’s tournament also brings in revenue, paying the NCAA $41.8 million. The team spending depends on the specific school. Some of the top teams, Baylor, Gonzaga (rip), Illinois and Michigan, spent an average of $10 million two years ago. Those same four schools spent $5.7 million for their women’s team.

What Now?

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president of basketball and basically the conductor of the madness, stated that “the work is not done,” and that “there is more to do, and we look forward to doing more after this year’s championship.”

There is speculation of what will happen with the timing and location of the championship games for both tournaments, which is something we will not know until later in the tournament. For now, we can appreciate the dated efforts to level the playing field, or court, and cheer on all players of the game. Let’s dance.


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