NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Thursday that the NCAA is hiring a law firm with expertise in Title IX and gender equity issues to conduct an independent review of its championships at all three divisions. The move comes after widespread outrage over a clear disparity in workout facilities at the NCAA Men's and Women's Division I Basketball Tournaments.
The Women's NCAA Tournament in San Antonio did receive an upgrade in workout facilities, but only after pressure from players, coaches and others who between the minimal fitness equipment furnished to the women versus the expansive setup at the men's tournament in Indianapolis.
"The NCAA will continue to aggressively address material and impactful differences between the Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Championships," Emmert said. "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. 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."
Emmert said the NCAA hopes to have "preliminary assessments" by late April and a final report this summer. New York-based Kaplan Hecker & Fink will conduct the assessment. Emmert said the firm will "evaluate our practices and policies and provide recommendations on steps we can take to get better."
Suzette McQueen, the chair of the NCAA Committee on women's athletics, previously wrote that that the disparity "undermines the NCAA's authority as a proponent and guarantor of Title IX protections, and it sets women's college athletics back across the country."