SPORTS COMMENTARY: Women’s March Madness lacks the attention it deserves


Photo courtesy of John Mac (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ohio State University and Indiana University compete in Big Ten Tournament of NCAA Women’s March Madness on March 4.

During the month of March, students’ heads are buried in chromebook screens all throughout class. But instead of assignments and notes, most screens display basketball games, as students try to keep up with March Madness between teachers’ glances. While many students follow men’s basketball religiously, they are far less likely to know the outcome of the women’s games. Of course, this is not unique to West Essex. Overall, while women’s basketball is consistently nail-biting and impressive, it remains a second thought. 

When someone mentions March Madness, I have started asking quick follow up: mens’ or womens’? This question is usually met with a confused glance followed by a sheepish look with the realization that they never thought about the fact that there are two basketball tournaments that bear that name. In their minds, “March Madness” means only one thing, and that is men’s basketball. Women’s basketball only enters the picture if someone makes the conscious decision to include it, which is rare. 

Women’s sports are constantly undermined by their male counterparts. While the Women’s World Cup is yet to occur, it is reasonable to assume that it won’t receive the same attention that the Men’s World Cup received this past fall, even though the US Women’s soccer team is substantially better than the US Men’s team, compared to others in their respective leagues. 

When young girls of the future see their sports idols ignored as male players are celebrated, they are ingesting a message. A message that they don’t have a place in the sports world, that their athleticism will always be on the outskirts, a second-best option to the boys. If for no other reason, for their sake, it is important to include women’s sports in the conversation.

The women on the court (and on the field) deserve the same respect as the men do. They work just as hard as the male players, arguably harder, as they must fight to push past stereotypes and barriers that have been created for them just to get to the same level. 

And lastly, women’s basketball is fun to watch. Its fast-paced nature and skilled players make the games exciting. We should cheer just as loudly for them as we do for male players. 

March Madness is a time for sports fans to root for their teams and place risky guesses on game outcomes. But don’t forget that is also a time to continue moving toward a more fair world for women.

Photo credit: “3/4/23 Ohio vs Indiana” by John Mac is licensed under (CC BY-SA 2.0).