March Madness has separated NCAA teams into two bubbles by gender. The men are in Indianapolis and the women’s teams are in San Antonio for their tournaments and each bubble has facilities like weight rooms for the players.
Videos and photos of the equipment provided have caused controversy online as the women have spoken out about the disparity between them.
A coach at Stanford named Ali Kershener shared pics on her Instagram of the two weight rooms, writing, “Not usually one for this type of post but this deserves attention.”
The top photo shows the expansive and well-stocked men’s room, and the bottom photo shows the women’s “weight room,” which is just a rack of dumbbells and a table with some mats on it.
“These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities,” Kershner continued. “Not only that – 3 weeks in a bubble and no access to DBs above 30’s until the sweet 16?”
The story started to get more attention when a TikTok made by Oregon Ducks forward Sedona Price went viral.
“So for the NCAA March Madness, the biggest tournament in college basketball for women, this is our weight room,” Prince says, in her video.
She also added that the issue isn’t space, panning across the empty gymnasium for emphasis.
“Here’s our practice court, right, and then here’s that weight room, and then here’s all this extra space,” she says. “If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you’re a part of it.”
Despite Prince’s picture proof, the NCAA Vice President of Women’s Basketball Lynn Holzman blamed the issue on “limited space,” and did not apologize in a Twitter statement response to the uproar:
“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment,” said Holzman said. “In part, this is due to the limited space and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available later in the tournament.”
A lot of people have been complaining online since the amenities issue came to light, from WNBA players like A’ja Wilson, Sabrina Ionescu, NBA star Stephen Curry, and others:
If you want to maintain some faith in humanity, don’t read the comments. Most people seem to be defending the NCAA by saying women athletes don’t make money for the league.
Even if that were the measure of success, these athletes are students, learning, growing, unpaid, and playing to the best of their ability. The support they receive makes an enormous difference to what that looks like on the court.