NCAA Men’s vs Women’s Funding


USA Today

A picture of the women’s and men’s weight room.

As the famed March Madness started, there was madness, but for a different reason than usual. Right before the tournament started, a photo surfaced of the NCAA basketball men’s weight room compared to the women’s weight room. There was a major difference- the men’s weight room had countless racks, dumbbells, and other equipment while the girl’s weight room had about ten dumbbells. The weight rooms were set up due to the fact that all teams would be staying in one location, the men in Indianapolis and the women in San Antonio. There was outrage and many popular athletes, both male and female, said a change must be made. It was also found that the funding given to the men was twice as much as the women. This caused a lot of arguments and really took the focus away from the games at the beginning of the men’s and women’s tournament.

The first issue is the budget disparity between the men and women. In the 2019 NCAA tournament the men’s tournament had a budget of 28 million dollars. On the other hand the women’s tournament had only 14.5 million dollars, a little more than half of the men’s budget. So this is completely unfair right? Not necessarily. The men’s tournament brought in over 864 million dollars while the women’s actually resulted in a loss of 2.8 million dollars. So, is it wrong that the women get half as much money when their profit is -17.3 million dollars and the men’s is 836 million dollars? An important thing to know is that the NCAA is a non-profit organization so those numbers don’t really affect the situation as much as they would in other organizations. The NCAA is more concerned about making sure both men and women have games and tournaments that work effectively and efficiently. Another thing to note is that 90% of the money that the NCAA makes goes back to the colleges for travel, scholarships, and academic services. If the money that is brought in by both men and women is used to help all athletes, why would the funding need to be changed at all? This year it has been estimated that the women’s tournament will actually cost 2 million dollars more than the men’s, so the funding problem isn’t as big as some people have made it out to be. There is no simple solution, but equality should be the goal as we head into next season.

As a result of the weight room photos, the NCAA upgraded the women’s weight room to that of the men’s. They claimed that this had been the plan all along and the makeshift weight room was there for the time being. After the weight room situation was resolved, the uproar subsided, but the problem of inequality between the men’s and women’s basketball funding wasn’t solved. In general, many analysts still talked about how there needs to be more equality and urged fans who didn’t believe the women deserved it to watch them play. They said that the women’s players are a lot better than the average fan gives them credit for and it is unfair that they aren’t receiving the same funding.

There is no simple solution to this funding debate. While the men bring in so much more money than the women, the NCAA is a non-profit so the money goes right back to the colleges. This means that the NCAA needs to make sure that the men and women have all they need to operate without any problems and do their best to make the equipment and opportunities equal.