Education

Congress Takes Aim at NCAA’s Gender Equity Issues

Dissatisfied with the NCAA’s lack of progress on gender equity in college athletics, a trio of congresswomen on Thursday introduced legislation to create a commission to conduct an in-depth study of gender equity issues across all NCAA-sanctioned sports in all three divisions.

Titled the Gender Equity in College Sports Commission Act, the bill aims to create a 16-member bipartisan group that will present a report detailing the NCAA’s gender equity issues and offer policy recommendations. The bill was introduced by Democratic congresswomen Carolyn B. Maloney, Jackie Speier and Mikie Sherrill, who represent New York, California and New Jersey, respectively.

The three lawmakers called out NCAA president Mark Emmert over gender equity issues in March at the start of the NCAA tournaments for both men’s and women’s basketball. The bill comes as the men’s and women’s tournaments, which draw millions of viewers, are nearing the championship games.

If established, the congressional commission will present a report and policy recommendations within 12 to 18 months on how the NCAA can reduce disparities between men’s and women’s athletics.

The bill has the support of higher education organizations such as the Association of Title IX Administrators, the Drake Group and various others, according to a news release from the sponsors.

The NCAA has been under pressure to address gender equity issues since last year’s basketball tournament, when female basketball players called the league out for disparate treatment compared to men’s teams, posting videos of comparatively substandard training equipment and facilities. In response, the NCAA  hired a law firm to conduct a review to identify and act on gender equity issues.

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