By Mechelle Voepel
Last season, Kelly Graves went to the women’s NCAA tournament as a coach, and the men’s tournament as a proud dad and fan. The contrasts he noticed weren’t just because of his different points of view. And in the wake of Tuesday’s release of the NCAA’s commissioned report on gender equity focusing on the disparity between the two tournaments, Graves’ observations were on point.
“There was more of a feeling of a tournament in Indianapolis,” said Graves, the Oregon women’s college basketball coach whose son, Will, played for Gonzaga’s men’s team. “It just seemed like a much bigger deal there than in San Antonio.”
Graves said he wasn’t sure how much of that was on the NCAA, and how much on the two cities. But he said in general, the findings in the report — done by the Kaplan Hecker & Fink law firm — didn’t surprise those in the women’s basketball world.
“I guess they just put out there what we already knew,” Graves said. “The food options, the hotels you stay in, the weight room facilities, the gift bags … I mean, come on. I can’t believe we’re still having to see disparities in those areas.”