By Andrea Adelson and Heather Dinich
In 2013, Val Ackerman compiled an exhaustive report on the state of women’s basketball for the NCAA. Known as the “Division I Women’s Basketball White Paper,” the account was filled with concerns from those she interviewed over a span of six months and detailed recommendations to market and usher the sport into 2020.
“There is a tremendous appetite for change in the way Division I women’s basketball is played, marketed and managed. In many cases, the comments I received were tinged with frustration, as it was noted that some of the ideas now being discussed have been ‘kicking around for years,’ demonstrating the difficulty of making change within the NCAA system.
“No one I spoke with advocated a laissez-faire or ‘wait-and-see’ approach to women’s basketball; the overriding sentiment was that changes of some kind were clearly in order and that the time for action is now.”
Those words ring even truer now, eight years later. The stark inequalities between the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments was again brought to light earlier this month.