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Women fight for equal facilities during March Madness

FRI. | 03-26-21 | SPORTS

     The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) has been under scrutiny these past few weeks as pictures of the women’s March Madness facilities have gone viral. These pictures reveal lackluster weight rooms compared to the state-of-the-art men’s March Madness facilities. Not only is there disparity in the weight rooms, the food quality as well as the “swag” given to players is seen as a step down from what the men receive.


Graphic by Jack Vick

     These issues are being brought to light due to COVID-19, forcing the NCAA to create a “bubble” environment for their players. Under normal circumstances, teams are separated into many different cities throughout the country where they play games against other teams, based upon seeding. This year, all the games are played in one city that houses a number of hotels and playing arenas. The women’s bubble is in San Antonio while Indianapolis is hosting the men. In order to have been allowed in the bubble environment, players must have tested negative seven days in a row, and once they are inside the bubble, they must test negative the first two days in a row. Only then the players can be cleared to play. 

     Because the environment is so controlled this season, the NCAA has been forced to provide amenities like weight rooms and food for all the teams. Oregon Ducks forward Sedona Prince recently posted a Tik Tok video showing just how different the weight rooms are for the women versus the men. Prince displays a picture of the men’s weight rooms which include many different types of equipment spaced out across a ballroom. She then videos a measly stack of dumbbells on a concrete floor and then highlights a vast room that is completely empty. Her point of posting the video was to disprove the NCAA’s statement that stated the disparity in the weight rooms was due to space. 

     After this video went viral, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player and former women’s College Basketball Player of the Year Sabrina Ionescu took to Twitter to voice her opinion. 

     “Women’s NCAA bubble weight room versus men’s weight room...thought this was a joke,” Ionescu said. “To all the women playing in the March Madness tournament, keep grinding!” 

     The NCAA responded with a statement from their vice president of Women’s basketball Lynn Holzman. 

     “As a former women’s basketball student-athlete, it’s always been my priority to make this event the best possible experience for everyone involved,” Holzman said. “We fell short this year.”

     The NCAA cited “limited space” as the reason they fell  short in providing a feasible weight room and they stated that their plan all along was to improve the weight room as the tournament went along. Whether space was lacking or not, the disparity between the weight rooms is unacceptable and completely goes against Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. 

     According to the NCAA’s webpage, “Title IX requires the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of: (a) equipment and supplies; (b) scheduling of games and practice times; (c) travel and daily allowance/per diem; (d) access to tutoring; (e) coaching, (f) locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities; (g) medical and training facilities and services; (h) housing and dining facilities and services; (i) publicity and promotions; (j) support services and (k) recruitment of student-athletes.” 

     It is evident that the NCAA failed to provide the women athletes with equal provisions of equipment and supplies. The NCAA has since updated the women’s weight rooms and they now are up to par with the men’s weight rooms.

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