Opinion: NCAA’s mea culpa on inequities between men’s and women’s tournaments not enough

INDIANAPOLIS — At long last, somebody at the NCAA has gotten something right.

NCAA president Mark Emmert acknowledged Friday afternoon that the disparities between the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments “was a mistake. There’s just no getting around it.”

Ya think?

Emmert had all kinds of reasons – I won’t call any of them good – for why the inequities happened. The early rounds of the women’s tournament are typically held on campus sites, so this is all a little new. Comparable equipment for a comparable weight room was either already there or on its way but there was a “space” issue – except there wasn’t, as we know from that now-viral TikTok video by Oregon’s Sedona Prince. The committees that put the two tournaments together couldn’t communicate as much as was probably needed because of COVID-19 restrictions. The NCAA is using local companies for COVID testing at each site.

Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention pic.twitter.com/t0DWKL2YHR

Blah, blah, blah.

The NCAA likes to trumpet equity and equality, and has been patting itself on the back for much of the last year for its social justice efforts. So what does it do at its first major event in two years? Treat the women like second-class citizens.

If even that.

“This was inexcusable,” Emmert said in a meeting with reporters from USA TODAY Sports, The Athletic and the New York Times. “I want to be really clear, this is not something that should have happened or anything, should we ever conduct a championship like this again, will ever happen again. We’re on top of it.”

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Sorry, but that’s not good enough. With the images and stories that have trickled out from the women’s tournament in San Antonio, it’s impossible to think anything other than the NCAA expended all its efforts getting its billion-dollar baby up and running only to look around and realize, “Oh (expletive deleted). I guess we’re going to have to do something for the girls now, too, huh?” Which is unacceptable, enraging, insulting, myopic – pick any adjective that you like.

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