NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2022: First Four – Round 1

There have been a ton of changes to this years NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, thanks mostly to Sedona Prince, a junior forward at the University of Oregon, who posted a 38 second video on social media that highlighted to profound differences in how the men and women’s tournaments are treated.

..{ F}our additional teams that will participate in the now 68-team women’s basketball tournament; from the participating players, whose gift bags will now be identical to those received by their male counterparts; from the new employees the N.C.A.A. hired to beef up its women’s tournament staff; and from the tournament referees, who will now be paid the same as the officials who call the men’s game. []

The N.C.A.A., which represents more than 1,200 schools and where change comes at a glacial pace, has made some of the easy fixes in the name of gender equity for this year’s tournament.

The women’s tournament has been expanded from 64 to 68 teams (the number the men reached in 2011) and will be branded, like the men’s tournament, with the moniker March Madness, a move the N.C.A.A. had previously resisted. [..]

Whatever welcoming gifts are delivered to the men — swag bags typically filled with T-shirts, caps, towels and other branded merchandise — will also be given to the women. The mobile apps for the two tournaments will be more compatible, there will be similar March Madness branding on courts and locker rooms and at the Final Four (New Orleans for the men, Minneapolis for the women).

There have also been organizational changes. The N.C.A.A. men’s basketball and women’s basketball staffs are now each 10 members; previously, they were 11 for the men, seven for the women. And the men’s and women’s committees, which had almost no interaction, now meet quarterly.

A gap in spending between the tournaments, which Kaplan’s report said was $35 million last year, will be narrowed by millions, said Dan Gavitt, the N.C.A.A.’s senior vice president for basketball, who declined to provide a precise figure.

(There are some inherent differences in expenses because the first two rounds of the women’s tournament are played on campus arenas, while the men’s games are played at neutral sites. Additionally, the women’s Final Four is typically played at an N.B.A. arena while the men’s is hosted in a football stadium.)

“Every budget line is compared and contrasted,” Gavitt said. “Where there are differences, they are resolved in the name of equity.”

These steps are considered long overdue by women’s basketball players and coaches and regarded as obvious fixes. But what Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer found most encouraging about Kaplan’s report, which interviewed 144 N.C.A.A. executives, staff members and coaches and administrators who serve on the organization’s councils, is that it buttresses an argument she and others have long been making: that there should be greater investment in women’s sports.

There may be more coming down the pike with changes in how the broadcast rights are negotiated, which according to civil rights lawyer Roberta A. Kaplan’s report are undervalued.

Today’s games begin at 7:00 PM ET and 9:00 PM ET respectively.


Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
7:00 pm ESPN U 16 UIW 13 – 16 16 Howard* 20 – 9 Greensboro
9:27 pm ESPN U 11 DePaul 22 – 10
11 Dayton* 25 – 5 Greensboro

* indicates the winner

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