On the 2019 NCAA women’s bracket & living wage policies

Today I’m taking a look at the 2019 NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament bracket (yesterday I provided some decidedly non-expert analysis of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament). I’m methodically completing my women’s brackets, trying to decide whether strength-of-schedule, conferences, geographical or academic loyalties, mascots, or school colors are sufficient to overrule seedings and produce upsets. As with this year’s men’s tournament, I can’t pick an all-Jesuit women’s final four this year because only three Jesuit institutions have teams in the tournament – Gonzaga (5), Marquette (5), and Fordham (14) – although all three of them could (in theory) make it to the final four…

…as with the men’s tournament yesterday, I refer back to this project and last year’s (2018) list of 32 American higher education institutions (HEIs) with (either all or part of) a living wage policy publicly available on their institution’s website – that about 1% of all four year HEIs (see my AASHE webinar here).

Out of the 64 teams making the 2019 women’s tournament, five institutions made last year’s list – just under 8 percent of the field. Those institutions are 2 seed Stanford (2018 Living Wage Policy score 85), 10 seed Auburn University (45), 6 seed UCLA (70), 8 seed University of California (70), and 15 seed UC Davis (70).

Three of those teams are in the upper half of their regional bracket (i.e., 8 seed or higher), but three of them are in the same first and second round grouping playing at Stanford, which means at best three of these five teams can make it to the “sweet 16.”

Notably, Auburn was the only institution to field teams in both the men’s and women’s tournaments and have (all or part of) a living wage policy.

I’m interested to see if additional tournament teams have instituted living wage policies since last year. I’m about to begin soliciting participation from chief human resource officers (CHROs) in our 2019 data collection effort to answer that question. As before, I’ll be asking if living wage policies and/or practices are in effect; I’ll be asking institutions with policies to provide them, and I’ll be inviting CHROs at colleges with living wage practices to be interviewed about their institution’s practices.

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