NCAA women's bracket – reactive but not yet proactive
Sophomore Scout Hoffmeier makes a serve (Credit: Deitrich Wright)
As the NCAA felt the response to another discrepancy amongst women's sports, a swift announcement was made to correct their error.
On April 8, the NCAA stated that the first and second rounds of the National Women’s Volleyball Tournament would not be broadcast. Social media backlash caused the NCAA to update its website the next day stating, “ESPN will provide remote announcers for the first and second rounds of the championship. All 47 matches will be live on an ESPN platform and will include commentators.”
Once again, women’s sport is given an equitable tournament experience after first having to ask for it.
Layshia Clarendon, a guard for the New York Liberty WNBA team, tweeted about the bravery of this generation of women after the basketball tournament controversy last month. On March 19, she wrote, “I love this generation of college basketball players because the fearlessness they have to speak up about injustices is something I didn’t have in college. The “grateful and happy to be here” women's athlete is a thing of the past.”
Female athletes have evolved to recognize and speak up on injustices they face, but are still waiting for a time where these associations are proactive instead of being responsive. It shouldn’t take public backlash to treat women sports the same way as the men.
It appears the NCAA is more concerned about preserving its image instead of ensuring it gets it right the first time – especially given the back-to-back errors the organization made with the women’s national basketball and volleyball tournaments.
However, the efforts of these athletes and the public was enough to get their attention and adjust. The continuous push against gender inequality in sports ensures these associations are conscious of the fact that people are watching, and there are new standards they are expected to meet.