Updated: March 21, 2021 10:14:19 am
Gender discrimination in the world of sports has been highlighted by female players time and again. The latest issue that has got everyone talking online, is the striking difference in weight training facilities seen at a major US college basketball tournament. A video posted by a female player highlighting the “sexist” arrangement has sparked an outcry on social media.
University of Oregon forward Sedona Prince recently took to TikTok to show the fully-stocked men’s weight room at the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament, in contrast to a poorly stocked women’s arena. While the association earlier reacted to the difference, saying there was an issue about space and not money, however, NCAA’s claim fell flat when Prince showed in the video the ample free area in their practice arena.
“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,” she said while pointing toward one stack of free weights. “If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you are a part of it,” she added.
The video gained wider attention after it was posted on Twitter and went viral getting nearly 15 million views.
Oh and it’s women’s history month…. the irony. https://t.co/JD4mFqkwlD
— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 19, 2021
Women are playing their tournament in San Antonio, Texas, while the men’s games are taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I’m saddened, frustrated, and disappointed. This is a slap in the face for female athletes across the country. Another upsetting reminder that the resources and support provided throughout athletics IS dependent on gender.
— Malorie Henderlong (@14malorie) March 18, 2021
As there was a lot of buzz about revenue in women’s games, many fitness and sports equipment companies too joined the conversation saying they are ready to send supplies, tagging NCAA to reply.
Teams at the Women’s 2021 NCAA Tournament,
We see you. We hear you. We want to help.
This tournament is a celebration of the best players in the league. No one should be asked to forgo their training at this critical moment. #TitleIX @ncaawbb https://t.co/b3Mq2v4DCZ
— Orangetheory Fitness (@orangetheory) March 19, 2021
— DICK’S Sporting Goods (@DICKS) March 19, 2021
@sedonaprince_ This is ridiculous. Let’s one up them. We’re sending 10 Tonal Smart Gyms that will arrive in San Antonio tomorrow for all of the players. Please DM us for next steps.
Good luck to all of the @marchmadness teams!
— Tonal (@tonal) March 19, 2021
From professional players to politicians all joined in the conversation about gender discrimination in the world of sports, dubbing the video as ‘outrageous’ and demanding better facilities and respect for female athletes. Here’s how everyone called upon the association to ‘fix’ the issue.
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) March 19, 2021
Equal time, equal access, equal facilities, equal treatment.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) March 19, 2021
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) March 19, 2021
This is outrageous — but it’s not just about the weight room. From their facilities, to their food, to giving them less reliable COVID tests, the women’s NCAA basketball teams are being shortchanged.
Give women athletes the respect they deserve. https://t.co/TlMm7kfs9v
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) March 19, 2021
You can bring up money, revenue, viewership, or whatever to try to justify this, but at the of the day, there’s absolutely NO excuse for how disrespectful this is. https://t.co/q5eFv08hVF
— Obi Arisukwu (@ObiAris) March 19, 2021
Gender discrimination continues, despite Title IX. Only corrupt & dishonest academic officials could have failed to notice this. https://t.co/j9amrRz6hJ
— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) March 20, 2021
Deeply unacceptable. On so many levels the NCAA needs to do better—there is absolutely no excuse for this sexist, unequal treatment. https://t.co/VJ78jF32K4
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 19, 2021
Compare treatment of Women’s NCAA Basketball athletes to Men’s. Grotesque misogynistic foul discrimination in the extreme. Thank you Ms. Prince for educating us. Time for justice. https://t.co/cKQW9dJV0O
— DesertThorne (@ThorneDesert) March 20, 2021
This is why men think they’re special. Lol. Society reinforces their value above every other gender everyday through things like this. Appalling!
Very happy you spoke out.
— beauty. spirit. light. (@EniolaHu) March 19, 2021
I’m honestly astonished how many comments are about money… this is an athletic event and they haven’t given the women the basic equipment they need to compete properly!
— Rev. Dolly Rotten (@DollyRotten) March 19, 2021
So many men here bringing up “men’s basketball makes $$$ amount and women’s doesn’t “ ok and??? This is collegiate, we’re not discussing contracts or payment. It’s literally about the bare minimum of ensuring EVERY player has access to the equipment needed to train.
— David Aranguren (@David_A96) March 19, 2021
hey, sorry men in these comments! no one said anything about viewership. the NCAA cannot, per title IX, provide women with less opportunity than men. this isn’t about who gets more views, it’s about the NCAA violating rules and then acting like they do no wrong.
— ashtyn (@ashtynmckayla) March 19, 2021
You GO girlfriend. I’m 66 and have been fighting the “testosterone wall” all my life. It saddens me that women your age still have to put up with this. Never give up, never give in. 💕
— Melinda Whitt (@MelindaWhitt3) March 19, 2021
After facing backlash online, the NCAA responded to the weight room controversy and issued a statement. Dan Gavitt, senior vice president of basketball for the NCAA, took the blame for the weight room controversy and said it will be fixed soon.
“I apologize to women’s basketball student-athletes, to the coaches, Women’s Basketball Committee for dropping the ball, frankly, on the weight room issue in San Antonio,” Gavitt said during Friday’s press briefing.
— NCAA (@NCAA) March 19, 2021
Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president for women’s basketball, said she and her staff are examining how to readjust available square footage within the unique footprint of the controlled environment in San Antonio to provide more training opportunities for teams while maintaining health and safety protocols.
In addition to weight training issues, female student-athletes also raised concerns about the food quality at their hotels and the items in their “swag bag” compared to men’s basketball participants.