By Jennifer Roback
On September 29, 2021, the NCAA announced two moves that will help bridge the equality gap between men's and women's college basketball.
Starting this season, NCAA women's basketball will now be able to use the March Madness branding when advertising for the NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament for the first time in history.
Previously, the tournament included the generic Women's Basketball on courts as March Madness was only associated with the men's tournament.
The decisions comes just one month after the NCAA's gender equity report was released following the backlash from the previous season about the unequal treatment of the men's and women's basketball tournaments, a large movement that was started by Oregon Ducks' star Sedona Price, after posting TikTok videos exposing the poor workout facilities compared to the men's at the 2021 tournament.
The report, which was released on August 3, also found that the NCAA had undervalued the women’s tournament over the years.
"This is just the start when it comes to improving gender equity in the way the two Division I basketball championships are conducted,'' Lisa Campos, chair of the NCAA Division I women's basketball oversight committee, said. "Adding the March Madness trademark to the Division I women's basketball championship will enhance the development and public perception of the sport.''
While specifics have not been released on how March Madness will be incorporated, many view just the simple use of the logo as a big step in the right direction.
The NCAA also announced that they have implemented a zero-based budgeting method for the two championships, meaning that instead of adjusting budgets from the previous fiscal year, the championships staffs from both the men's and women's tournaments will start from scratch in determining budgeting expenses.
Lynn Holzman, the NCAA vice president of women's basketball added: "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."