The NCAA announced Wednesday that the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship tournament will begin using March Madness branding during the upcoming event in 2022.
While the NCAA men's basketball tournament has been referred to as March Madness for many years, that wasn't the case for the women's tourney until now.
The NCAA noted that the decision was made after a "comprehensive external review of gender equity issues in connection with NCAA championships."
Lynn Holzman, the NCAA vice president of women's basketball, explained how the March Madness branding will be beneficial to women's basketball:
"Women's basketball has grown tremendously over the past several years, and we remain focused on our priority of enhancing and growing the game. The brand recognition that March Madness carries will broaden marketing opportunities as we continue that work to elevate the women's basketball championship."
Additionally, Chair of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Oversight Committee Lisa Campos discussed what the move means for women's basketball and collegiate women's athletics in general:
"This is just the start when it comes to improving gender equity in the way the two Division I basketball championships are conducted. Adding the March Madness trademark to the Division I Women's Basketball Championship will enhance the development and public perception of the sport, and the oversight committee looks forward to its work to address other recommendations through the governance structure to continue those efforts."
The Division I Women's Basketball Oversight Committee played a significant role in the March Madness branding extending to women's basketball by voting unanimously in favor of it.
Much was made about the equity gap between the men's and women's basketball tournaments last year, especially after Oregon player Sedona Prince showed the differences between the weight rooms provided to the players during the tournaments:
The NCAA came under fire as a result and made some changes in an effort to make things more equal. NCAA Vice President for Basketball Dan Gavitt also apologized for the NCAA making the gaffe in the first place, saying:
"We have intentionally organized basketball under one umbrella, with the goal of consistency and collaboration. When we fall short of these expectations, that's on me.
"I apologize to women's basketball student-athletes, to the coaches, to the women's basketball committee for dropping the ball, frankly, on the weight-room issue in San Antonio. We'll get it fixed as soon as possible."
The Women's Final Four will be played in Minneapolis from April 1-3, 2022, and games throughout the tournament will air on ESPN and its related networks.
Meanwhile, the 2022 NCAA men's basketball tournament will conclude with the National Championship Game in New Orleans on April 4, 2022.