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'Embarrassing': No March Madness branding on Women's NCAA tournament courts

Following last week's viral images of the weight rooms, it's another disparity between the women's and men's tournaments.

Looking around the basketball facilities hosting women's NCAA Tournament games there are no signs of March Madness. At least not the iconic trademark “March Madness" that the NCAA uses to promote games this month.

It's not on the courts, which say “NCAA Women's Basketball" or feature the names and logos of the host teams.

“I didn’t realize that was an NCAA thing, but I certainly think that’s something that needs to be discussed and changed," UConn's acting head coach Chris Dailey said Monday when asked about March Madness.

“I think it looks a little embarrassing on the court when you see ‘Women’s Basketball’ and nothing connected to March Madness. There are women playing, so clearly it’s women’s basketball. I think everyone can get that. So, I think that certainly it’s something that needs to be discussed.”

Credit: AP
A Stanford player warms up before a college basketball game against Utah Valley in the first round of the women's NCAA tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

When asked about the absent trademark, the NCAA said in a statement it will continue listening to the expectations of members and women's basketball leadership while considering relations with “valued broadcast partners.”

“We are committed to working with all constituents to determine the best way forward for women’s basketball including the use of March Madness logos if desired,” the NCAA added in its statement.

It is another in a list of differences between the tournaments and became a topic of discussion after the Wall Street Journal reported Monday the NCAA's trademark registrations for the phrase “March Madness” allow the organization to use it for both the men's and women's tournaments.

But NCAA doesn't use them for both, at least not in same way. The attention being given the growing list of differences has caught the attention of administrators outside NCAA headquarters.

Credit: AP
Iowa's Luka Garza (55) and Oregon's Chandler Lawson (13) tipoff for a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Monday, March 22, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

“There is a general concern among commissioners we need to do better by women’s basketball," said Rich Ensor, commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and chair of the college commissioners association, which makes recommendations to the NCAA on various topics. “We’ll be discussing it further with the NCAA leadership team in the very near future.”

RELATED: NCAA apologizes to women's tournament teams for weight room inequities

RELATED: Oregon basketball player calls out NCAA's double standard at women's tournament

The NCAA apologized last week after inequities between the men's and women's tournament went viral on social media and vowed to do better. Photos and videos showed the difference between the weight rooms at the two tournaments -- the men getting a plethora of equipment while the women got a set of dumbbells and yoga mats.

Other differences: There are 68 teams in the men's field, 64 in the women; and the NCAA pays for the men's National Invitation Tournament, but not the women's NIT. 

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said everyone must keep speaking up about the disparities and that the NCAA needs to investigate itself regarding the differences.

“Somebody needs to be held responsible, I don’t know who,” Staley said. “But the investigative work needs to be done to see where things have fallen short.”

Tennessee coach Kellie Harper just uses the term March Madness because she said that's what this is for women — just like it is for the men.

“We’re in the middle of March Madness and to watch the games being played today and in the next couple weeks, you have to use that term," Harper said. "It’s what we’re doing right now. It just makes sense.”

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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