NCAA Shows Double Standards in Collegiate Basketball

Opinion

The weight room for the men at the NCAA college basketball tournament was well-stocked and expansive, while for the women it was extremely sparse. The disparity showed even in the food they were served and the goodie bags they got, showing the lack of equality for all genders in the sport. Photo Courtesy of ABC News.

The weight room for the men at the NCAA college basketball tournament was well-stocked and expansive, while for the women it was extremely sparse. The disparity showed even in the food they were served and the goodie bags they got, showing the lack of equality for all genders in the sport. Photo Courtesy of ABC News.

By Amy Simon, Reporter

As teams began settling in for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) women’s basketball tournament that began on Sunday, March 21, the female athletes found themselves looking at a weight room that provided a lack of legitimate equipment. Ali Kershner, the Stanford Sports Performance Coach posted a photo to her Instagram of the men’s setup, which appeared to have several pieces of gym equipment spread out the size of a convention center, and a photo of the women’s setup, which included a few yoga mats laid on top of a massage table and a rack of hand weights.

“Not usually one for this type of post but this deserves attention,” Kershner commented under her post. “This needs to be addressed. These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities. Not only that, 3 weeks in a bubble and no access to dumbbells above 30s until the sweet 16? In a year defined by a fight for equality, this is a chance to have a conversation and get better.”

Although the NCAA has faced serious strain amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s cumulative profits from years prior could have easily provided equal amenities. The problem wasn’t money. The problem was the misogynistic team surrounding the NCAA. Providing women with equal facilities was only a small factor in the tournament, yet they could barely catch a glimpse of it when it came to the women’s side of the workout room.

To cover this dilemma, the NCAA posted on Thursday, March 18 that the reason for the small weight room was due to the lack of space available. However, Sedona Prince, an Oregon sophomore attending the competition released a TikTok showing the abundance of space that was available off to the side of the practice courts. By creating a lie to hide the NCAA’s prejudiced opinions, it not only showed that the NCAA had no intention of fixing the problem, but also that they simply did not care for the issue.

“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment,” NCAA vice president Lynn Holzman said in a news conference. “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. However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams, and we are actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment.”

In addition, photos and videos surfaced, showcasing the dinner offered for female athletes in comparison to the male athletes. The female athletes were greeted with plastic containers filled with mashed potatoes, soggy broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and squishy undefinable meat which some concluded was meatloaf while others assumed it was a variation of Salisbury steak. The male athletes were seen with a smorgasbord, with dishes including lobster macaroni and cheese, grilled asparagus, chopped salad, bread pudding, cheesecake, and an assortment of other fresh meal items.

When the players arrived back at their hotels for the day, it seemed as though another issue had met them at the doorstep. Every year, the NCAA provides its players with swag bags. The bags usually contain some sort of amusement item, toiletries, clothing, and other fun accessories. This year, the male athlete’s swag bags were filled to the top with goodies including books, hats, water bottles, blankets, toiletries, stickers, shoes, and many articles of clothing. When laid out on the hotel bed, the items barely fit. The female athlete’s swag bags included a shirt, towel, toiletries, water bottles, socks, a puzzle, and an umbrella.

Donna A. Lopiano, the director of women’s athletics at Texas for nearly two decades and is now the president of the Drake Group, a nonprofit that seeks changes in college sports said in an interview with the New York Times that she was surprised, but also unsurprised about the different treatment the female athletes were receiving.

“I can’t say enough how much of an [modus operandi] (MO) it is for the NCAA to create the guise of propriety over everything they do,” Lopiano said.

According to the NCAA rulebook, Title IX requires that all male and female athletes receive equal treatment for a variety of subjects including equipment, competitive facilities, training facilities, and dining facilities, among other provisions. So why are female athletes still receiving underrepresentation? Viewers of NCAA basketball and participants no matter the gender need to speak up about this subject because at the end of the day, everyone shares the same love for the sport, and we shouldn’t derive female athletes from their immense success and achievement.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email