TOTD: Why are there disparities in college basketball, anyway?

March 23, 2021 - Ashleigh Lowe

"I got something to show y'all. So, for the NCAA March Madness, the biggest tournament in college basketball for women, this is our weight room," Sedona Prince announced in a TikTok, pointing to six sets of weights in a corner. In comparison, the men’s weight room was large enough to be socially distanced and featured several weight stations. Prince’s post came just hours after the initial statement by Ali Kershner, a Stanford University Coach. Kerschner called on the NCAA to address the inequalities in amenities for men’s and women’s basketball. She writes, “these women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities.” 

On Saturday, the NCAA revealed an upgraded weight room for the players participating in the women’s college basketball tournament. While the association was able to amend the current controversy with upgraded facilities, they have not responded to why it was allowed to happen in the first place. Lynn Holzman, the vice president for women’s basketball, claimed that the NCAA “intended for women to have access to a full weight room once their teams had reached the third round of the tournament” (NPR). The men’s basketball teams had access to a full-weight room from the start of the tournament. 

Why was it not possible for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, to have access to the same facilities from the very beginning of the tournament?Providing equal training facilities is not a financial problem for the NCAA. Although it may have been strained in the past year, it makes so much money from the men’s tournaments that providing equal facilities for everyone should be no financial issue (New York Times).

The disparity between men’s and women’s sports “is hardly breaking news," said former longtime Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw. “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 (NPR).  To say they dropped the ball would be the understatement of the century."The NCAA should support its women athletes from the very beginning, not just when they are called out online. 


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