The highly-anticipated gender equity review by Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP of how the NCAA conducts its championship events has included one recommendation that would raise eyebrows among those in the sports travel industry: combining the division I Men’s and Women’s final Fours into one single location by no later than the 2022–2023 season.

The review said ensuring the men’s and women’s tournaments supply the same experience for players to have it in the same city because “in light of the structure of the NCAA’s existing broadcast and sponsorship contracts, however, there is no sensible way to obtain the same level of corporate sponsorship and promotional synergies at a separate women’s championship in a separate city.

“It’s worth a shot,” Connecticut instructor Geno Auriemma told The Associated press of a joint final four weekend. “It’s been done successfully with tennis and the Olympics. will there be enough coverage spread around that no one gets lost in the shuffle there? That’s the question.”

[Read the full report Here]
The idea of a combined final four weekend was first suggested in a 2013 white paper prepared by the current big east Commissioner, Val Ackerman.

“While there certainly would be a a lot more limited number of cities in the united states capable of hosting combined final Fours, both Houston and Dallas, which are scheduled to host the 2023 men’s and women’s final Fours, respectively, are capable of hosting such a combined event,” the review stated. “Moreover, our independent media expert has strongly recommended implementation of this recommendation Camiseta Selección de fútbol de Bélgica by the 2023 championship, because it would “generate significant incremental value for the [Division I Women’s Basketball Championship] immediately and thus supply the NCAA with a incredible calculated advantage heading into its ESPN renewal discussion.”

Along with if the NCAA would adopt the recommendation, the question is when it would do so — whether in the timeline suggested by the review or later. The NCAA this past summer announced the results of its bid cycle for hosting championship events through 2026, including the men’s and women’s final Fours;

2022 final Four: Men, new Orleans; Women, Minneapolis

2023 final Four: Men, Houston; Women, Dallas

2024 final Four: Men, Phoenix; Women, Cleveland

2025 final Four: Men, San Antonio; Women, Tampa

2026 final Four: Men, Indianapolis; Women, Phoenix

The NCAA Women’s division I tournament also planned a revamping of its regional setups starting in 2023 with two sites hosting eight teams apiece instead of four regionals with four teams apiece like the men’s tournament.

2023 Regionals: Greenville, South Carolina; Seattle

2024 Regionals: Albany, new York; Portland, Oregon

2025 Regionals: Birmingham, Alabama; Spokane, Washington

2026 Regionals: Fort Worth, Texas, Sacramento, California

“We understand that the NCAA has made commitments to host cities for multiple years, and this recommendation will require the NCAA to work with those host cities to make changes to their plans based on the severe and shared value of promoting gender equity,” the review said. “It is critical, however, to make this change and to do so swiftly to take advantage of the current momentum, to demonstrate the NCAA’s significant commitment to change, to garner the significant benefits to the women’s final four described above, and to capture the calculated value that combined final Fours could yield for future contract negotiations.”

The rest of the report was nothing less than an embarrassment for the NCAA. The review concluded that the organization prioritized the division I men’s basketball tournament “over everything else” after the firm was hired in March upon reporting showcased how the NCAA failed to supply similar amenities to the teams in the men’s and women’s division I basketball tournaments. other complaints surfaced at the women’s volleyball tournament in Omaha, Nebraska and the Women’s college world series in Oklahoma City.

The report noted disparities were not confined to this year’s tournaments: Kaplan said NCAA’s Camiseta Olympique Lyonnais structure and systems “are created to maximize the value of and support to the division I Men’s Basketball championship as the primary Camiseta Celta de Vigo source of funding for the NCAA and its membership” while the women’s tournament is part of a package with a lot more than two dozen other NCAA championships that ESPN owns and pays about $34 million per year for through 2023-24, even though an assessment done for Kaplan by a team of sports media and marketing experts showed the women’s tournament will be worth between $81 and $112 million every year beginning in 2025.

The report criticized the NCAA for failing to recognize or prepare for that growth in value and said profits generated by the men’s tournament’s media deal leads to that event being prioritized “over everything else in ways that create, normalize and perpetuate gendenull

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