NCAA Leaders Apologize For Disparities Between Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament Facilities

From weight rooms to food options

March Madness
A fan looks on wearing a "March Madness" mask before the Virginia Tech Hokies take on the Florida Gators in the first round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For the nation’s top college basketball teams, March is the month in which the great distinguish themselves from the merely good. The 2021 women’s tournament is being held in San Antonio this year, while the men’s tournament is taking place in Indianapolis. You might think that both tournaments — the highest-profile for the sport — would offer players identical facilities. Unfortunately, as many in San Antonio shared with the world, that’s nowhere near the case.

Alex Azzi at On Her Turf assembled a list of the ways in which the men’s tournament features more comprehensive facilities than the women’s tournament. This is perhaps most apparent when looking at the two tournaments’ weight room facilities — the women have access to a few yoga mats and dumbbells, while the men’s facility features a much more comprehensive set of equipment.

The inequality doesn’t end there, though. Azzi’s report notes that the COVID testing done for players is also imbalanced, with men getting PCR tests and women getting antigen tests. Even when it comes to things like gift bags and food selection, the men end up with a much fuller selection than what the women have been given.

In a statement issued on Friday evening, the NCAA addressed the disparities. “We fell short this year in what we’ve been doing to prepare in the past 60 days for 64 teams to be here in San Antonio,” said Lynn Holzman, the NCAA vice president for women’s basketball.

The NCAA stated that they would be looking into improved options for weight training, as well as some of the other concerns that have been raised in the last few days.

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