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Women Players Excluded from Meeting with Emmert

Andy Berg

A scheduled meeting between three members of the #NotNCAAProperty group with NCAA president Mark Emmert was held Thursday but women were conspicuously absent.

The men’s players leading the movement, including Iowa’s Jordan Bohannan, said they wanted women basketball player’s present at the meeting.

Ramogi Huma, the executive director of a group that works to represent college athletes nationally, said in an interview with the Des Moines Register that “there was a little miscommunication,” adding that Bohannon and others are now trying to arrange a meeting that would include women's basketball players.

Bohannon told the Register that he expected a meeting with Emmert that would include women’s players “ASAP.”

Talk of Emmert meeting with women’s players comes after the NCAA took harsh criticism for disparities in the men’s and women’s accommodations at the association’s basketball tournaments.

Men were given a lavish weight room set up in a gym, while women were given a set of dumbells and some yoga mats.

“Me personally, if I was on the call,” Michigan fifth-year senior Akienreh Johnson said, “I would have a lot of things to say. Women’s voices, you know, we tend to get really rowdy.”

A March 23 letter sent to Emmert by Bohannon, Rutgers' Geo Baker and Michigan's Isaiah Livers requested a meeting with the NCAA president and also stated, “To be clear, we are requesting a meeting with you that will also include other men’s and women’s basketball players as well as (Huma)."

For his part, Emmert said he was open to meeting with female student-athletes as well.

"I also appreciate your interest in including other current men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes in our discussion. … Please feel free to share the names of the additional students you wish to include, and we will work with their schedules as well," Emmert wrote.

Baker, Bohannon and Livers were the only three players on Thursday's call with Emmert.

In that call, they made three requests, according to the Register:

  • That the NCAA’s member schools make a temporary rules change that would allow college athletes to make money from their names, images and likenesses during the 2021-22 school year. They said they envisioned this a one-year accommodation similar to the schools’ adoption of various blanket waivers that will give athletes an additional season of eligibility because the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted playing schedules in the spring of 2020 and the fall and winter of 2020-21.
  • That the NCAA pledge to “voluntarily abide by and enforce” Title IX, the federal gender-equity law. While schools are subject to the law because they receive federal funding, the NCAA — which is organized as a private, non-profit organization that does not get federal funds — is not subject to the law in areas it administers, like championship events.
  • Arrange a meeting between the players and two of the NCAA’s top governing groups – the Division I Council, which is comprised mainly of school and conference administrators, and the NCAA Board of Governors, which comprises college presidents from all three of the association’s competitive divisions.
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