The biggest event of the year for college basketball fans is in full swing as the men’s and women’s tournaments are underway. However, the biggest storyline out of the women’s tournament so far has been their fight for equality. While the men’s teams have received satisfactory accommodations for their stay, the women’s teams have been left behind.
The Workout Area
As the days before the tournament winded down, images of the differences between the men’s and women’s workout areas went viral. The men’s area was shown to include multiple racks of dumbbells, weight racks, plates, bars and more. As the men were given the resources of an actual gym, the women were given just a rack of dumbbells and yoga mats.
— Sabrina Ionescu (@sabrina_i20) March 18, 2021
Present and former players along with fans were outraged about the variance in workout areas, leading to a response from the NCAA. In a released statement the organization claimed that there was limited space for more equipment, and as teams were eliminated they planned to expand on the workout area. However, this was disputed with videos of the area next to the dumbbells showing large amounts of open space.
— Sabrina Ionescu (@sabrina_i20) March 19, 2021
The NCAA took action to correct their mistake by updating the workout area for the teams just before the tournament started.
— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) March 20, 2021
Another topic of discussion was the food given to the men compared to the food given to the women. While the men enjoyed buffets of food including lobster mac and cheese, petite filet and cakes, the women were given frozen food that looked hastily thrown together. There was also a limited amount of options for women players who are vegetarian, leading to some athletes saying they will be running on snacks.
Mens NCAA Bubble means solid…
— Abdi (@aoneg_) Mar
The Gift Bags
The difference between what the men received in gift bags and what the women received was blatant. While the men received loads of sanitation supplies, books, blankets, shirts, hats and many other items, the women were given just a fraction of what the men received.
Make it make sense! #Title9
NCAA Women vs. NCAA Men pic.twitter.com/vyvQY2Cebk
— Theresa Nunn (@sthoyas) March 18, 2021
Title IX says that it does not require identical athletic programs between men’s and women’s programs of the same sport. However, it does say that the programs should receive the same level of service, facilities, supplies and more. It states that variation is allowed as long as there is a justifiable reason. Many people feel that there is no justification for the difference in supplies offered by the NCAA. However, Title IX applies only to federally funded institutions and not the NCAA.
The NCAA has worked to enhance the workout resources for the participating teams but as of Tuesday, the organization has not yet made a statement on the other issues.
Edited by Gracie-Lee Strange and Christian Knox
Featured image courtesy of Molly Hensley-Clancy Twitter (@mollyhc)