Gender Differences in Competitive Balance in Intercollegiate Basketball
This paper adds to the literature on competitive balance in college sports by comparing men's and women's NCAA basketball. Using data from the Division I National Championships, we find evidence consistent with the idea that women’s college basketball is less competitively balanced than men’s college basketball. We argue that this difference may be explained by a theory of player ability borrowed from evolutionary biology first promulgated by paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould and subsequently utilized in Berri (2004). An implication of this idea is that competitive balance in women’s NCCA basketball will naturally improve over time. This is good news for those who are concerned with the long term success of the sport to the extent that competitive balance in women’s college basketball impacts fan demand. Nevertheless, we discuss why there may be reason to believe that women’s college basketball may not reach the same level of balance as men’s college basketball.
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