The NCAA has acknowledged the disparities between men’s and women’s weight rooms after side-by-side photos of the respective March Madness bubble facilities drew intense backlash.
On Thursday (March 18), women’s basketball players posted photos and videos showing the drastic differences between the two gyms. While the men’s sprawling weight room had rows of workout equipment and amenities for them to use, a gym for the women’s basketball tournament in San Antonio, Texas had only a stack of yoga mats and one rack of dumbbells.
Female basketball players reacted to the disparities on social media.
“That NCAA bubble weight room situation is beyond disrespectful,” A’ja Wilson, who plays for the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, wrote on Twitter.
“This is the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament vs. Women’s Basketball tournament bubble set up,” Stanford Sports Performance Coach Ali Kershner added on Instagram along with side-by-side comparison photos. “This needs to be addressed. These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities.”
In a statement responding to the backlash, the NCAA said it was “actively working” to address the issue.
“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment,” Lynn Holzman, the NCAA’s vice president of women’s basketball, said.
Holzman attributed the drastic differences in available equipment to “the limited space” in the women’s gym. However, Oregon Ducks’ Sedona Prince disputed this in a TikTok video, which showed that the women’s gym had a lot of extra space.
“The NCAA came out with a statement saying it wasn’t money, it was space that was the problem,” she said.
“Here’s our practice court and here’s that weight room,” Prince added, gesturing to the rack of dumbbells. “And here’s all this extra space,” she continued, showing the full size of the empty room.
“If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you’re a part of it,” she concluded.
In the statement, Holzman added, “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.”
See posts on social media about the issue below.
That ncaa bubble weight room situation is beyond disrespectful— A'ja Wilson (@_ajawilson22) March 18, 2021
Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention pic.twitter.com/t0DWKL2YHR— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 19, 2021