PETA takes credit for NCAA's switch to synthetic basketballs


Mar 11, 2001
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Tuesday, May 14

NCAA to use synthetic balls in tournaments

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- The leather basketballs used in NCAA tournaments have been permanently benched.

The organization said it would make the switch next season to balls made of synthetic materials. The decision comes after animal-rights activists complained about the use of leather.

The new basketballs will be used in the championship tournaments at each divisional level beginning in 2003. The men used 232 balls and the women 344 in all of last year's tournaments, NCAA spokeswoman Jane Jankowski said Tuesday.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked the NCAA in November to scrap the leather balls in favor of synthetic ones, already in use by most major colleges and universities.

"We're always looking for new ways to prevent animal cruelty," said PETA's Sports Campaign coordinator Dan Shannon. "We know now not to use fur anymore. We've moved on to leather. Wearing leather isn't a lot different than wearing fur."

Jankowski said she didn't know if the new balls were cheaper, but Shannon said it was hard to put a price on a cow's life.

"The production is much simpler and it doesn't involve raising animals, which is a very costly procedure," he said.

The request came around the same time the NCAA switched to Wilson as the official basketball manufacturer.

"They did bring it up with their supplier and Wilson told them you can get the same performance out of a composite," Shannon said. "I think that was pretty key in their decision. They were very receptive."

The NCAA rules and championship committees unanimously approved the change at their annual rules meeting earlier this month.

Shannon said the animal-rights has group has begun talks with the NBA about switching its basketballs.

"They've been telling me all along the reason they're using leather is, the NCAA is also," he said. "They want to use the same ball throughout. We expect the NBA to (change) pretty quickly."

The WNBA already uses a ball made from pleather, a synthetic leather.

Shannon said PETA also has contacted major league baseball and the NFL about switching the compositions of baseballs and footballs to a synthetic substance.

PETA sent the NCAA a package of vegan chocolate basketballs as a thank you, along with a note saying, "Thank you for moo-ving away from leather!"


Well-known member
Feb 2, 2002
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Bouncing a leather ball ball isn't going to hurt the cow anymore. What's the problem?

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