EXTERNAL GENDER EQUITY REVIEW, ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP (“KHF”) is conducting a comprehensive and thorough external review of gender equity issues in connection with the NCAA, focusing on the NCAA championships. While the immediate focus of this review is on women’s and men’s basketball, the full inquiry will include a review across other sports, including gender equity challenges that may be unique to those programs. The review will include Divisions I, II, and III.

Phase I

Listening Sessions: An essential component of KHF’s review is hearing directly from key stakeholders about their experiences, insights, and concerns with respect to gender equity in connection with the NCAA and NCAA championships. As an initial step, KHF is conducting listening sessions with key stakeholders, including, but not limited to, current and former student-athletes, parents, coaches, athletics directors, senior woman administrators, college/university chancellors and presidents, conference commissioners, representative athletics groups, and NCAA staff, committee, and board members. These sessions may take the form of individual and group meetings, as well as open forum discussions. It is important for KHF to hear from these constituencies at the beginning of the process in order to identify and understand the relevant issues, which will in turn inform the review, analysis and recommendations.

Comment Website: In addition to gathering information through the listening sessions, KHF has set up a website at ncaagenderequityreview.com, to which there is also a link on the NCAA.org website. On this website, individuals can submit comments to KHF and request to speak with KHF (including confidentially) in order to provide information relevant to the review.

Confidentiality: In order to carry out the review, KHF will engage in confidential communications with various stakeholders, including student-athletes, NCAA members, NCAA staff, and NCAA partners. KHF will be able to ask the questions it needs to ask, and those providing answers will be able to do so confidentially and/or anonymously. The confidentiality of these communications will be respected by the NCAA.

Revise Scope & Work Plan: Based on the outcome of the listening sessions and website comments received, KHF will refine the scope of work and develop a more detailed work plan, which will include reviewing the following:

  • The planning and execution of the 2021 women’s and men’s basketball championships, as well as steps taken to ameliorate the issues identified;
  • The decision-making authority, structural responsibilities, oversight responsibilities, internal communications and coordination, and external interactions with respect to women’s and men’s basketball and their respective championships;
  • Comparability of policies and procedures for women’s and men’s basketball, including the comparability of the policies and procedures for the women’s and men’s championships;
  • Comparability of staffing, facilities, marketing capabilities and resources, broadcast and media coverage, support by external operations, event presentation, promotions, resource allocation, use of marks, and other relevant aspects of women’s and men’s basketball and their respective championships.

Document Review & Interviews: KHF will conduct interviews and receive documents and information from the NCAA and others as part of the review. These interviews will include NCAA staff and membership.

Phase II

Based on what is learned in Phase I during the listening sessions, as well as on the information developed by KHF’s initial focus on women’s and men’s basketball, KHF will identify a select group of other sports for a similar gender equity examination.

Listening Sessions/Comment Website: KHF will conduct additional listening sessions with key stakeholders for these specific sports and will continue to receive submissions to the comment website.

Revise Scope & Work Plan: Based on the outcome of Phase I and the Phase II listening sessions and website comments, KHF will further refine the scope of work and develop a more detailed Phase II work plan, which will include reviewing the following:

  • The decision-making authority, structural responsibilities, oversight responsibilities, internal communications and coordination, and external interactions with respect to these other sports and their respective championships;
  • Comparability of policies and procedures among the women’s and men’s teams for these other sports and their respective championships;
  • Comparability of staffing, facilities, marketing capabilities and resources, broadcast and media coverage, support by external operations, event presentation, promotions, resource allocation, use of marks, and other relevant aspects of these other women’s and men’s sports and their respective championships;

As necessary, KHF will conduct additional interviews and receive additional documents and information from the NCAA as part of the review.

Reporting

KHF will update the Board of Governors on the scope and timing of the review at the April 9 and April 27 meetings, as well as through ongoing periodic updates, with the goal of completing a thorough review as expeditiously as possible and reporting on findings by the end of July 2021. At the conclusion of the review, KHF will produce a report, which will include findings and recommendations. These recommendations may include governance or committee adjustments, structural changes, duties and responsibilities modifications, and financial and human resource reallocations. The NCAA President has agreed that KHF’s independent findings and recommendations will be made public.