It took a viral video for the women to get proper gym equipment for the NCAA tournament
After a video went viral showing the NCAA men’s full training room versus the women’s weight room — er, I mean stack of dumbbells — it seems the organization saw the error of its ways. According to an update posted to social media Saturday, the women’s teams now have a full room of weight equipment, just like the men.
“Guess what, guys,” Oregon Ducks player Sedona Prince, who posted the original now-viral video, said. “We got a weight room. We got a ton more dumbbells, look at that. Look at all these racks for squats and whatever you wanna do.”
— Paul B. Livengood II (@IamLivengood) March 20, 2021
Prince showed the original “weight room” in the video, saying in part, “So, for the NCAA March Madness, the biggest tournament in college basketball for women, this is our weight room,” panning to a single dumbbell rack. The men’s looked like it came straight out of a Lifetime Fitness.
“Thank you to NCAA for listening to us,” Prince said. “We appreciate y’all, thank you so much.”
The problem was fixed, but the issue remains.
“The real issue is not the weights or the ‘swag’ bags; it’s that they did not think or do not think that the women players ‘deserve’ the same amenities of the men,” wrote three-time Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley in a statement on Twitter.
— dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) March 20, 2021
ESPN host Jay Williams agreed.
“This is an utter embarrassment & is not acceptable by any means,” Williams wrote on Twitter. “I am sick and tired of the women’s game being treated like an after thought product. Their game is elite and their accommodations need to be treated as such. PERIOD.”
After initially saying the reason was “space related” rather than a complete slight and being disproven in a video later by Prince showing plenty of blank space in their San Antonio tournament bubble, there was finally an acknowledgment and apology.
— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) March 20, 2021
The NCAA eventually issued an apology.
“I apologize to women’s basketball student-athletes, coaches and the women’s basketball committee for dropping the ball on the weight rooms in San Antonio,” Dan Gavitt, NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, said in a statement.
But it wasn’t just San Antonio. Stanford sports performance coach Ali Kershner posted to Instagram two similar photos comparing the men’s facility in Indianapolis and women’s facility in Texas.
“These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities,” Kerschner wrote. “In a year defined by a fight for equality, this is a chance to have a conversation and get better.”
Then, obviously chuffed at itself, they bragged about it on social media, saying, “The weight room has arrived! Let’s gooooo,” the organization tweeted on Saturday.
The weight room has arrived!
— NCAA Women’s Basketball (@ncaawbb) March 20, 2021
Bottom line? It shouldn’t take a viral TikTok video to look at a situation, see the problem, and fix it.
“What bothers me is that no one on the NCAA’s leadership team even noticed,” Former Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw said Saturday. “While corporations across the country are scrambling to hire women and set up diversity & inclusion teams, the NCAA had an opportunity to highlight how sport can be a place where we don’t just talk about equality we put it on display.”