Women's Basketball Coaches Association asks NCAA president for gender inequity commission

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert stating the external review he announced after disparities surfaced between the men's and women's basketball tournaments was "insufficient to meet the needs of the WBCA's member coaches."

In the letter, obtained by ESPN, the WBCA instead asks for an independent "Commission on Gender Inequity in College Sports" to be led by individuals chosen by the WBCA and NCAA.

"The scope of the commission's inquiry must include an in-depth review of the NCAA's organizational structure, its governance of women's and men's sports, and its administration of women's and men's championships with a focus on the documented inequities that exist with the treatment of women's basketball," the WBCA letter states.

Last week, the NCAA announced it had hired a law firm to conduct an independent gender-equity review of its championships across all three divisions and for all sports.

The move came after videos surfaced showing the major contrast in weight-training facilities given to the women in San Antonio compared to the men in Indianapolis, in addition to swag bags, food options and COVID-19 testing. After Oregon player Sedona Price went on social media showing the weight room situation, a public outcry ensued, and NCAA vice president for basketball Dan Gavitt issued a public apology.

In a letter dated the same day the inquiry was announced, the WBCA fired back, noting the external review was insufficient.

"The issues raised by the treatment of the teams in San Antonio are symptoms of a much larger attitude that women's sports are second class to their men's counterparts," the WBCA wrote in the letter. "This attitude is best demonstrated by differences in how the NCAA manages, funds and markets its two preeminent events -- the Division I Women's and Men's Basketball Championships.

"It presents itself through messaging that is usually subtle, sometimes overt, but always noticeable and demoralizing to student-athletes, coaches and everyone else who sees women's basketball on the brink of great success. This is a longstanding, deeply ingrained systemic problem; it is not one that just happened to occur last week. For this reason, we cannot accept an external review that is conducted by a law firm of the NCAA's choosing."

In a video message sent to WBCA members on Tuesday, WBCA executive director Danielle Donehew said Emmert, Gavitt and NCAA Vice President of Women's Basketball Lynn Holzman will hold a Zoom call with Division I women's basketball head coaches to address the conditions in San Antonio on Wednesday.

"We will remain diligent in ensuring that the voice of our member coaches are heard and the best interests of our sport are protected as this much-needed review, whatever form it may ultimately take, begins," Donehew said in the video message.

Donehew referred to her video message when reached by ESPN for comment. The NCAA has not replied to a request for comment.

ESPN's Heather Dinich contributed to this report.