Offsides Newsletter: NCAA Gender Inequality Report

By Maggie Jent

 Photo via The Boston Globe 

Following the uproar from a viral Tik Tok video, posted by University of Oregon women’s basketball player, Sedona Prince, that showcased the drastic differences between the men’s and women’s 2020 March Madness tournament, a second NCAA Gender Inequality report was conducted to further investigate disparities between men’s and women’s collegiate sports. Phase II of the NCAA Gender Inequality Report showed that the NCAA’s spending was about $1,700 less for women’s participants than men’s in the 2018-19 season per Division I and national championship participants, excluding basketball. Disturbingly, the report exposed that men’s and women’s lacrosse had some of the most drastic disparities of systematic gender inequality in NCAA championship spending per male and female student-athlete of any collegiate sport.

The report shed light on the major differences between men’s and women’s lacrosse championship spending. The NCAA spent more than double per athlete for the men compared to the women. In 2019, the NCAA spent $4,814 per Division I men’s lacrosse player and $1,939 per Division I women’s lacrosse player. This is despite the fact the women’s lacrosse championship bracket consists of 29 teams and the men’s consists of only 17 teams. The men were given $2.6 million in championship spending and the women were given only $1.7 million.

Although the Phase II findings of the Gender Inequality Report were startling, this information is meant to help identify the core issues contributing to systemic gender inequality within the NCAA and implement realistic solutions to close the gender gap. As current members of the Unleashed team, and former Division I NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament champions and participants, Rachael DeCecco and Kylie Ohlmiller are determined to see change in the sport of women’s lacrosse and advocate for immediate action. By recognizing the root causes of gender inequality, including organizational structure and culture, allocation of spending, and lack of corporate sponsorship and branding, the NCAA can implement concrete steps to ensure progress on gender equity within their organization.

Rachael DeCecco, Head of Unleashed & PLL Academy – 2x NCAA Champion

“The recent data from the NCAA Gender Equality Report was not surprising to anyone who has been paying attention. The question that needs to be answered now is what steps with the NCAA take to support ALL of their athletes? And as advocates and leaders, what can we do to help? The published report did a great job creating an important dialogue around issues that we have all experienced as female athletes. We need to use that as a jumping off point and can no longer allow the issue to be swept under the rug.”

Kylie Ohlmiller, Unleashed Athlete & Founder of KO17 Lacrosse – 2x NCAA Quarterfinal participant

“Personally, what stood out to me most about the report was the fact that these stats were something unique to the sport of lacrosse specifically, where gender disparity amongst other sports was mentioned as “generally positive” with lacrosse being the “major exception” to that. My hope is that we can continue to help the world see these disparities within our sport in a public light; and then continue acting towards lessening these gaps with the products we can put together as players, leaders, and coaches of this game - rather than leaving our statements out there as merely words on a page to read with no follow up action to create change!”

For the full NCAA Gender Inequality Report, click here.

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