An open letter to the NCAA’s Mark Emmert

Dear Mr. Emmert,

For the better part of a year, your office has told one and all that every student-athlete matters in this time of crisis. EVERY student-athlete.

And, yet, your signature events — the basketball championships — are underway and…ugh.

Who in your office thought that rolling out a top-of-the-line experience for the (still unpaid) male basketball players also meant rolling out a far lesser experience for the (still unpaid) female basketball players? The rather empty response from your office provides further evidence that sexism is alive and well within the halls of the NCAA.

Your office compounds that error by reminding people who follow @MarchMadness on Twitter that the site is the “official NCAA March Madness destination for all things Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball.” Who goofed? And how did no one in your office identify this faux pas and correct it?

It’s inexcusable that the women preparing to coach or play in the tournament must reflect upon, discuss or be reminded of the second-tier status they’ve been afforded.

On Friday night, the NCAA aired a promotional spot about how the student-athlete experience can create future leaders, and prominent men and women were identified in the commercial. That bit of public relations rings hollow in light of what has been uncovered in San Antonio and on social media.

Your time is up. It’s time for you to go.

It’s irrelevant what role you played in what happened in Texas or on Twitter; you’ve clearly not created a culture in which equality — the name of one of the court’s some of the men played on just hours ago — is infused from the top down.

That’s your legacy.

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