Ahead of the 2022 NCAA March Madness Finals, Maloney, Speier, and Sherrill Introduce Legislation to Address Gender Disparities in College Sports
Washington, D.C. (March 31, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Jackie Speier, Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and Rep. Mikie Sherrill, introduced the Gender Equity in College Sports Commission Act to ensure gender equity across all National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) athletic programs.
“For far too long, NCAA collegiate programs have sidelined gender equity for the sake of profit,” said Chairwoman Maloney. “NCAA basketball fans across the country witnessed firsthand the starkly unequal treatment between women’s and men’s athletic programs during last year’s NCAA tournament, and the Committee’s investigation has shown that NCAA leadership have not taken adequate steps to fix the problem. Every student-athlete deserves to be treated fairly, and today we’re taking an important step to holding the NCAA accountable to that standard.”
“Despite last year’s scandal, the NCAA has made pathetic progress towards correcting the deeply misogynistic attitudes and treatment of the women’s teams compared to the men’s teams. And this continues even after the NCAA was put on notice for its unjust treatment of women in at least four prior reviews over the last 30 years,” said Rep. Speier. “Clearly we need an independent commission and greater oversight over the NCAA to crack the caveman mentality that doesn’t just insult our stellar women athletes, but violates Title IX.”
“The NCAA has shown a repeated lack of commitment to gender equity,” said Rep. Sherrill. “Being a college athlete is the culmination of years of training, and hard work for the members of these teams. These athletes demonstrate unmatched levels of commitment to their sport and their universities. Yet, the players on the women’s and men’s teams have not been treated equally by the NCAA. Despite clear guidance from the firm the NCAA itself commissioned, they continue to fail to take basic steps toward equity. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bill and join the fight that leaders from Billie Jean King to Megan Rapinoe have championed.”
The Gender Equity in College Sports Commission Act would establish a 16-member bipartisan congressional commission to conduct a comprehensive study of gender equity across NCAA’s sports programs, which include 90 championships in 24 sports across three divisions. The commission will present a final report 12-18 months after establishment, along with policy recommendations NCAA should adopt to promote equity between men’s and women’s programs and reforms Congress should consider to improve oversight of gender equity across NCAA programs.
Specifically, the commission’s report to Congress will provide:
- An in-depth analysis of NCAA treatment of men’s and women’s teams in post-season tournaments and other student-athlete programs including venues and equipment provided for games and practices; lodging and transportation; media contracts; licensees, sponsors, and other fulfillment partners who deliver essential elements of the tournaments; and overall budgets;
- An analysis of NCAA’s constitution and policies that affect gender equity between men’s and women’s college sports teams; and
- An overview of federal government support for NCAA and recommendations for improved federal oversight of NCAA’s promotion of gender equity.
The legislation is supported by numerous organizations, including the Alliance of Social Workers in Sport, Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), Champion Women, Drake Group, Girls on the Run, National Fastpitch Coaches Association, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
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