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NCAA Hoops Leagues Grapple With Unequal Pay for Women's Refs

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)
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)
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(AP) -- 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.