What’s in a name? Huskers say including women’s tourney in ‘March Madness’ branding is right move
For the first time in the history of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, the event will be branded as ‘March Madness.’
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – For the first time in the history of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, the event will be branded as “March Madness.”
“It’s still shocking that it was never March Madness,” sophomore guard Jaz Shelley said. “And it’s extremely incredible that people are realizing and making the changes with this stuff.”
Husker players and coaches, who will be representing Nebraska in the team’s first tournament appearance since 2018, say the change is a necessary step for women’s sports.
“I think it’s just such a tremendous time to be a part of women’s basketball and watching the growth that’s taking place and with the attention that was brought to some of the discrepancies in the tournaments one year ago,” head coach Amy Williams said.
In the NCAA tournament bubble a year ago, Oregon’s Sedona Prince, then a teammate of Shelley’s, went viral for highlighting the discrepancies between accommodations made for men’s and women’s basketball players.
“We kind of thought it was a joke at the start,” Shelley said. “We kind of made a joke about it. But then we saw pictures of the men’s weight room facilities. And we said, ‘Wow, this is, it really is an issue.'”
Shelley says she believes Prince’s viral social media post at last year’s NCAA tournament was a landmark moment for women’s sports.
“I think it was because such a drastic, drastic difference that it was able to catch someone’s attention, but it’s incredible how many people respond and actually did further action towards it.”
Fast forward to this year, Shelley credits Nebraska fans for being at the forefront for supporting women in sports.
“The women’s tournament is getting so much coverage right now,” she said. “I’m just super happy. And I also embrace the Nebraska fans and how much they embrace women’s sports in general.”
The No. 8 Huskers will play No. 9 Gonzaga in the first round of the tournament on Friday at 2:30 p.m.