NCAA Answers Women on Unequal Weight Rooms

Discussion expands to different treatment for men's, women's tournaments
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2021 4:50 PM CDT
NCAA Answers Women on Unequal Weight Rooms
A visitor looks up this week at the logo for the Women's Final Four in San Antonio, which is hosting the Women's NCAA College Basketball Championship.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

NCAA basketball administrators apologized to women's basketball players and coaches after inequities between the men's and women's tournaments went viral on social media and vowed to do better. NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt vowed to do better during a Zoom call Friday, the AP reports, a day after photos showed the difference between the weight rooms at the two tournaments. "I apologize to the women's student-athletes, coaches and committee for dropping the ball on the weight room issue in San Antonio, we'll get it fixed as soon as possible," Gavitt said. During the call, other differences were raised: There are 68 teams in the men's field, 64 in the women, and the NCAA pays for the men's National Invitation Tournament, but not the women's NIT. "The field size and NIT, those would be decisions made in conjunction with membership," Gavitt said. "Those are not decisions we could make independently. They are good questions and it's timely to raise those issues again."

In a step to solve the weight room issue, the NCAA modified space in the convention center to turn it into a useable workout space. That work should be completed Saturday. "We fell short this year in what we have been doing to prepare in the last 60 days for 64 teams to be in San Antonio. We acknowledge that," said Lynn Holzman, NCAA senior vice president of women’s basketball. Players raised questions about the gift bags that they received compared to the ones that the men were given. The NCAA said the value of the bags was equitable. Gavitt said that the NCAA will use this opportunity for better collaboration. "I hope it opens a broader examination of how we invest, support and make decisions in the sport of basketball at all levels within our system," America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen said. "This isn't just about dumbbells or swag bags. This is about our fundamental expectations for fairness and equity and ensuring the outcomes of our decisions can meet those standards to deliver a quality experience for our student athletes."

(Read more NCAA basketball stories.)

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