NCAA Will Allow Women's Basketball to Use the Term 'March Madness' in 2022

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March Madness
March Madness

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Move over, men. The NCAA announced plans to break from tradition and allow the use of "March Madness" for the women's basketball championship, beginning with the 2022 tournament.

In the past, the NCAA exclusively reserved the phrase and branding for men's basketball.

According to the organization, this change came about after a "comprehensive external review of gender equity issues in connection with the NCAA championships."

"Women's basketball has grown tremendously over the past several years, and we remain focused on our priority of enhancing and growing the game," Lynn Holzman, vice president of women's basketball, said in a statement Wednesday. "The brand recognition that March Madness carries will broaden marketing opportunities as we continue that work to elevate the women's basketball championship."

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In March, the NCAA made headlines when Oregon University basketball player Sedona Prince posted a video to social media that compared the equipment the NCAA provided for the women's and men's teams.

Prince's video appears to show that the women's training area was only provided with six pairs of dumbbells of varying weights, while the men's area was furnished with numerous training racks, bars, plates, dumbbells and benches — pretty much everything one would expect in a proper gym.

"So, for the NCAA March Madness, the biggest tournament in college basketball for women… This is our weight room," she said while turning the camera around to the small stack of weights. The camera then cuts to show the men's fully-equipped training area.

"Now when pictures of our weight room got released versus the men's, the NCAA came out with a statement saying that it wasn't money, it was space that was the problem," Prince said before showing a large empty space in the women's area that could fit more equipment. "If you aren't upset about this problem, then you are a part of it."

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Prince's video quickly went viral on social media, garnering nearly 17 million views after it was uploaded to her Twitter account. The clip has also enacted real change in the form of a new women's weight room.

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Amid the backlash, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt apologized for the controversy, while Holzman admitted the organization "fell short."

"I'm a former women's basketball student athlete and it's always been my priority to make this event the best possible experience for everyone involved," Holzman said at the time in a video statement. "This is my passion — I care about women's basketball and women in sport. We fell short this year in what we've been doing to prepare in the last 60 days for 64 teams to be here in San Antonio and we acknowledge that."

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In an interview with MSNBC, Prince said she hopes to see "more equality" in the future.

"And to be represented in a way that we feel special and we feel like we are true division 1 athletes," she continued. "Just make our NCAA experience what we all hoped it would be."

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