The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament began on Thursday with First Four action in the Indianapolis area, with the first round starting on Friday. In San Antonio, teams in the Women’s Tournament began practicing after clearing their quarantines, and the stark contrast in the funding for the two bubble championships were put on full display.
A photo comparison of the men’s weight room in Indy and the women’s “weight room” in San Antonio — which included a small set of dumbbells and a few yoga mats — went viral and many WNBA stars called out how ridiculous the lack of investment was for the women’s game and how blatant it was. The NCAA would eventually release a statement, insisting that the issue was a lack of space in San Antonio compared to Indy, but that they would make the effort to fix the situation.
Here's the statement from NCAA VP Lynn Holzman to the Post: pic.twitter.com/OZfNSli223
— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) March 18, 2021
After hearing that excuse, Oregon player Sedona Prince posted a video to TikTok and later Twitter that proved how absurd that excuse was, showing the massive amount of empty, unused space is in the same spot as the “weight room” provided to teams by the practice court.
Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention pic.twitter.com/t0DWKL2YHR
— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 19, 2021
It’s clear that the NCAA and tournament organizers didn’t want to invest in gym equipment for the Women’s Tournament in the same manner as the men, and thought no one would notice or complain when they were provided with almost nothing for weight training. When they were called out for it, they scrambled to a space excuse that clearly falls short, and if it were possible to look worse after this morning, they’ve managed to do it.