NCAA March Madness Disparity

Nitya Wanchoo

The NCAA faced a lot of criticism throughout this past week due to the vastly different resources provided for the men and women’s teams during March Madness. The disapproval began when images of the men’s and women’s weight rooms surfaced on social media. The differences were evident, and quite frankly- painful.

               

 

 

 

 

As pictured to the left above, the women’s weight room was all of one dumbbell rack and limited space. The scale of it seemed comparable to a teenager working out in their room. In comparison to the men’s teams’ weight room, it’s simply pathetic and outrageous. In the photo to the right above, rows of weights and equipment are pictured with plenty of surrounding space. The differences between the two are sparking censure at the NCAA.

To add to such a scandal, the weight room wasn’t the only place where men received finer resources. The women’s teams, in addition to their subpar training centers, were receiving amenities of lower quality. Many athletes expressed their concerns about the differences in the quality of food and gifts provided for each. Moreover, college officials also disclosed that the women’s teams were being provided a different daily covid-19 test. The difference between the two being that the woman’s tests were less accurate.

As soon as the many accusations surfaced and began to gain traction, the NCAA officials apologized to the student-athletes, coaches, and women’s basketball committee. Within a few hours of the TikTok that revealed these conditions going viral, the NCAA held a conference call so that they could, as Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president, later put it, “do the right thing.” Additionally, Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president, responded to the many complaints by taking full responsibility and ensuring that the situation would be fixed “as soon as possible.”

Following all the men’s additional assets’ criticisms, the NCAA quickly put together an adequate room for the women’s team. The NCAA Women’s Basketball account responded to such by posting a picture, shown below, on Twitter with the caption “The weight room has arrived! Let’s goooooo.” The new training facility is located in the San Antonio Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The image below shows that the updated weight room has more weights and increased amounts of training equipment.

Such a disparity demonstrated the overwhelming differences between the treatment received and accomodations made for women’s and men’s teams. Coaches on both South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and UConn’s Geno Auriemma spoke out about the situation and expressed how the problem reflects the general contrast between women and men programs. Sexism within the sports industry, although it has improved, is still very much present.