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The NCAA earned praise last year when it agreed to pay referees at its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments equally. The gesture only cost about $100,000, a tiny fraction of the roughly $900 million networks pay annually to broadcast March Madness. Now, as the NCAA examines various disparities across men’s and women’s sports, pressure is rising to also pay referees equally during the regular season. Two Division I conferences told The Associated Press they plan to equalize pay, and another is considering it. Others are resisting change, even though the impact on their budgets would be negligible.
FILE - Referee Dee Kantner works in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game between Tennessee and Vanderbilt Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. Kantner, a veteran referee of women’s games who works for multiple conferences, finds it frustrating to have to justify equal pay. “If I buy an airline ticket and tell them I’m doing a women’s basketball game they aren’t going to charge me less,” she said. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, FILE)
FILE - At left, Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman smiles during a press conference at Madison Square Garden in New York, Thursday, June 27, 2019. At right, Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade smiles after the NCAA college basketball Atlantic 10 conference tournament championship game between Saint Joseph's and VCU at the Barclays Center in New York, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Both McGlade and Ackerman praised what the NCAA did last season by paying men’s and women’s basketball officials equally in the tournaments after a review showed many inequities between the two sports. However, both said the tournaments aren't the same as regular-season conference games. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley speaks with an official during the first half of a college basketball game against Creighton in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, March 27, 2022. Staley said referees on the men's side should be “stepping up” and advocating for equal pay for women's referees. “They don't do anything different," she said. “Why should our officials get paid less for taking the (expletive) we give them?" (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
FILE - Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma gestures to his team as official Dee Kantner, left, watches play during the second half an NCAA college basketball game against Central Florida, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Storrs, Conn. As the NCAA examines various disparities across men’s and women’s sports, pressure is rising to pay referees equally throughout the regular season — and three top conferences told The Associated Press they plan to make changes. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
FILE - Referee Dee Kantner gives Louisville coach Jeff Walz a technical foul during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Nebraska in Louisville, Ky., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Louisville won 85-68. Kantner, a veteran referee of women’s games who works for multiple conferences, finds it frustrating to have to justify equal pay. “If I buy an airline ticket and tell them I’m doing a women’s basketball game they aren’t going to charge me less,” she said. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
A judge in Russia convicted American basketball star Brittney Griner of drug possession and smuggling. She was sentenced to nine years in prison in a politically charged case that could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow. Griner showed little emotion to the sentence but her lawyers said later she was “very upset, very stressed.” U.S. President Joe Biden denounced as “unacceptable” the verdict and sentence, which came amid soaring tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine. Griner had told the court she had no intention to break the law by bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil when she flew to Moscow to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg.
WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was convicted and received a 9-year sentence from a Russian judge for drug possession and smuggling. Here are the reactions from across the basketball and political worlds.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken ends a news conference, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at the State Department in Washington. The Biden administration has offered a deal to Russia aimed at bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American Paul Whelan. That's according to Blinken, who also revealed that he had asked to speak with his Kremlin counterpart for the first time in months in hopes of expediting an answer from Russia. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) shoots during the first half of Game 1 of the WNBA basketball Finals against the Chicago Sky, on Oct. 10, 2021, in Phoenix. Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner returns to a Russian court Thursday July 7, 2022, as calls increase for Washington to do more to secure her release. Griner was detained in February at a Moscow airport after vape canisters with cannabis oil allegedly were found in her luggage. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)