With the men’s and women’s NCAA tournament kicking off this weekend in their respective bubble-type environments, there was a great deal of excitement in the college basketball world. But that excitement quickly turned sour when it emerged that there was a gross disparity in the quality of the women’s facilities in San Antonio compared to their male counterparts in Indianapolis.
A photo showing the women’s weight room went viral on Thursday, sparking widespread backlash, as their meager equipment paled in comparison to the full workout facilities that the men were afforded. The NCAA subsequently released a statement claiming that there was lack of space for those accommodations, an argument that was quickly rebuffed by Oregon’s Sedona Prince, who took to TikTok to show video evidence of unused space.
Amid the backlash, several sporting goods companies have pledged to donate equipment to the women in San Antonio, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Tonal, and Orangetheory.
@NCAA Our teammates have worked quickly to get truckloads of fitness equipment ready to send to the women’s @ncaawbb @marchmadness bubble – we are standing by to deliver it and have your facility outfitted within hours! Let’s make this happen. pic.twitter.com/6QJJjrrDgx
— 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.
— Tonal (@tonal) March 19, 2021
Orangetheory will make its studios available for private sessions with any team, or we will bring water rowers and a full range of floor and weight equipment to any central location. We want to help. DM & tell us how. @sabrina_i2 @CoachWillRU @mollyhc @ChantelJennings @AJ_McCord pic.twitter.com/bwAKExq1FA
— Orangetheory Fitness (@orangetheory) March 19, 2021
These are incredible gestures on the part of these businesses to step up and do the right thing, but it speaks to just how far we still have to go to reach some semblance of equality, not just in sports, but in the world at large.