March Madness Tournament Sheds Light on Gender Inequality in NCAA by Keira T.
Women’s sports haven’t always been--and still aren’t--the most talked about and watched. Even so, there have been more submissions of women’s tournament brackets during March Madness, and women’s college basketball is growing in popularity, with TV ratings improving rather quickly. Ratings for the women’s games in the Final Four match-ups improved from 2019, with a 22% increase in viewers for semi-final matches. Following that, the championship game ratings are up by 10% since 2019.
Before the tournament started, one of the players on the Oregon women’s college basketball team criticized the NCAA when she noticed that the men's basketball teams had an entire weight room full of workout equipment. All that the women had for training were a few dumbbells. The players protested, and as a result, the women's teams eventually received a weight room comparable to the men's.
This year, the women’s tournament championship game was anyone’s game. Stanford won by one point against the University of Arizona, making it their first women’s basketball championship victory since 1992.
Many of the teams were incredible, but the final four teams were the University of Arizona, University of Connecticut, South Carolina, and Stanford.
Some top players making headlines in this year’s tournament were actually freshmen players, quite surprisingly. Paige Bueckers from UConn ended up winning National Player of the Year. Similarly, senior Haley Jones won Most Outstanding Player for the Tournament. Caitlin Clark, another freshman player from Iowa, was one of the most exciting players to watch this year. She averaged 26 points per game and scored 103 three-pointers, shooting 41% from behind the arc.
On the local front, the University of Maryland had won their last 13 games entering the NCAA tournament. They were playing great in the tournament but got upset in the Sweet Sixteen round against the University of Texas.
Looking ahead, I predict that the University of Maryland will win the 2022 NCAA women’s college basketball tournament. Currently, most of their key players are returning, and the Lady Terps were also the highest scoring team this year.
Women are just as qualified as men, and hopefully in the future, there will be greater equality in terms of salary, news coverage, recognition, and the treatment of female athletes.