The highly anticipated National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament kicked off in early March, after a year hiatus due to COVID-19. Larger colleges around the United States that fall under the Division One category participate in “March Madness,” where casting bets on tournament brackets is competitive. Men’s and women’s teams compete every year to gain the title of NCAA champion.
This year, the tournament displayed blatant inequality between the men’s and women’s teams; the men’s team had a fully stocked equipment room, while the women’s teams had a set of dumbbells and yoga mats.
One thing is for certain: sexism in the NCAA has gone on for too long.
Sedona Prince, forward for the University of Oregon women’s basketball team, posted a TikTok March 18 calling out the NCAA for inadequate facilities for team “bubbles.” These bubbles contain college teams and their coaches and include a practice court and workout equipment. Her viral video showed clips of a men’s weight room with various equipment, while Prince’s team was provided a set of six dumbbells of varying weight.
“If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you are a part of it,” Prince said at the end of the video.
Prince’s video showed viewers how sexist the NCAA is toward female athletes. Lynn Holzman, the NCAA Vice President of Women’s Basketball, issued a statement following the video claiming that the reason for the reduced weight room was due to limited space.
“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment,” Holzman stated. “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 Prince’s video, it is apparent that there was ample space for the weight room. The evidence further suggests that the NCAA is sexist and doesn’t equally support the advancement of collegiate athletics.
Female athletes deserve the same opportunities as their male counterparts, no matter the sport. Dumbbells shouldn’t be the only factor turning the tide, the NCAA needs to fight inequality head-on.