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Congress Wants Documents from NCAA Showing Disparity Between Men's and Women's Sports

Adam WellsJuly 9, 2021

FILE - In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball second and third round games.  The NCAA and 11 major athletic conferences announced Friday, Feb. 3, 2017,  they have agreed to pay $208.7 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit filed by former college athletes who claimed the value of their scholarships was illegally capped.
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is seeking documents from the NCAA related to the disparity between men's and women's sports. 

In a four-page letter addressed to NCAA President Mark Emmert, three Democratic members of the House of Representatives requested a briefing from the organization by July 21 to provide information on "the full scope of gender disparities in NCAA’s programs, NCAA’s progress in addressing these disparities, and the actions that you will take to eliminate such disparities in the future."

It was signed by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, Jackie Speier and Mikie Sherrill. 

The letter mentioned the situation that developed during the NCAA women's basketball tournament in March.

Multiple women's players and staff, like Oregon's Sedona Prince and Stanford sports performance coach Ali Kershner, used social media to highlight the lack of amenities, including limited training equipment, where they were staying. 

Sedona Prince @sedonaprince_

Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention <a href="https://t.co/t0DWKL2YHR">pic.twitter.com/t0DWKL2YHR</a>

By comparison, Ohio State men's basketball conditioning coach Quadrian Banks posted a picture of the amenities provided to teams for the men's tournament:

Quadrian Banks @Truth_Q

This is a decent set up for some activities the next few weeks. Shouts out to <a href="https://twitter.com/HammerStrength?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HammerStrength</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/marchmadness?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@marchmadness</a> <a href="https://t.co/JvlLZd5yqO">pic.twitter.com/JvlLZd5yqO</a>

NBC Sports' Alex Azzi detailed further discrepancies between the men's and women's basketball tournaments.

Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, issued an apology to the women's teams and vowed to do better moving forward. 

"I apologize to the women's student-athletes, coaches and committee for dropping the ball on the weight room issue in San Antonio. We'll get it fixed as soon as possible," Gavitt told reporters on a March 19 Zoom call.

The NCAA provided additional training equipment and upgraded the training facilities for the women's teams amid backlash. 

Despite those steps for the women's basketball teams, the letter from the committee noted that in April, women's volleyball players and coaches expressed their concerns over the safety "of their tournament playing surfaces and the equity of broadcasting arrangements."

It also highlighted issues involving the Women's College World Series, including "a grueling, compressed schedule" and the fact that "until recently" the NCAA "failed to provide players with locker rooms or adequate restroom access during play" at the event. A number of coaches spoke out about the disparities between the WCWS and the men's College World Series.

Per the request from the committee, the NCAA must submit documents about championship events that include tournament sites, complaints filed by participating teams regarding the quality of their facilities and budget documents for all men's and women's tournaments in 2021. 

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