The NCAA made two moves Wednesday that should increase the opportunities for cross-promotion and collaboration between the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. It also makes the championships more financially sustainable.
The NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament will be branded and promoted using the term March Madness starting this season. A new budget structure has been created for both the men's as well as women's basketball tournaments.
The NCAA's August gender equity report was a major catalyst for change. After controversy erupted last spring over the unjust treatment of women's and men's basketball tournaments, the NCAA commissioned Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to prepare the report.
This included the "Women's Basketball", a generic version of the tournament's title, on the courts instead of the more famous "March Madness."
Although the NCAA did not specify Wednesday how March Madness would be integrated into the women’s tournament, the use of that logo on the court might be a good place to start. There are 64 teams in the women's tournament, compared with 68 for men.
"This is only the beginning when it comes to improving gender equality in the way that the two Division I basketball champions are conducted," said Lisa Campos, UT San Antonio athletics director and chair of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball oversight committee. "Adding the March Madness trademark on the Division I women’s basketball championship will increase the development and public perception.
According to the NCAA, the NCAA announced that the NCAA's men's and ladies' basketball committees as well as those sports' oversight commissions now hold regular joint meetings in order to improve collaboration.
Instead of adjusting budgets every year from the preceding year, the women's and men's basketball championship teams will begin anew each year in determining and justifying expenditures.
Phase II of Kaplan's report will focus on gender equity in NCAA championships that are not basketball. It is currently being released.