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NCAA social engagement proves the audience exists


It’s been two weeks since the eyes of the sporting world fell upon the NCAA women’s tournament for all the wrong reasons.

  • While the NCAA has been on an extended apology tour ever since, it’s clear the “issue” isn’t just quietly going away.

It’s more than a weight room: Top coaches in women’s college basketball reportedly grilled Mark Emmert and the NCAA over what they say is years (decades?) of under-investment in the sport.

  • “N.C.A.A. officials had hoped that the public furor around the tournaments would fade, particularly as the competitions advanced to their later rounds,” the New York Times reports, “But N.C.A.A. executives appeared to misjudge the depth of the outrage.”
  • The WBCA is now calling for an independent commission to examine the inequities after the NCAA initially offered to hire a law firm themselves.
  • Dawn Staley told Emmert: “Whoever is paying the piper, you know more than likely they’re going to give you what you want to hear.”

Signs of progress: Monday’s UConn-Baylor showdown doubled the men’s games on social media engagement.

  • But legacy outlets still aren’t doing enough, despite readily piling on the NCAA for its faults.
  • Between March 15-30, only 2% of organic social posts from the biggest sports media outlets referenced the women’s tournament, and nearly half of those posts were about the weight room debacle. (Zoomph)

JWS CEO Haley Rosen says it’s time for the media to look in the mirror.

  • “The NCAA clearly undervalues its female basketball players. But how many media outlets have implicitly told them this is OK, given that they, too, underinvest in covering the women’s game?”
  • “A world in which women’s sports are only given token verticals on websites and irregular media coverage is the same world in which these women are given dumbbells and a yoga mat while their male counterparts receive a fully-equipped weight room.”

The big picture: the audience is there, and they’re showing up on social. It’s time for the NCAA to take notice and for legacy media outlets to hold themselves accountable.

  • Go deeper: read our fearless leader’s full op-ed here.