Sexism Sparks During March Madness Tournament

Changes are made to the NCAA weight rooms after reports of sexism.

NBC News

Changes are made to the NCAA weight rooms after reports of sexism.

Amelia McCrory, Columnist

NCAA March Madness is one of the most important and entertaining events in not only college, but also American sports. It is the Division I College Basketball tournament that takes place for both men and women players. However, the tournament does not always occur without setbacks. This year, people throughout the sports world and America are calling out the NCAA once again for their incompetence and lack of equality among their players.

As the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament continues, considerable controversy has developed over the weight rooms and other elements contributing to the experience of female players. These factors were compared to the amenities of the men’s March Madness tournament, leading to accusations of the NCAA being sexist. Some other major differences between the two included pre-packaged meals instead of buffets, less reliable COVID-19 antigen tests, the incomparable “swag bags,” as well as the lack of photographers.

According to Today, it all began when the Oregon Ducks sophomore forward Sedona Prince posted a video on TikTok and Twitter that reached 7 million views in just a few short days. It highlighted the differences between the men’s and women’s weight rooms provided for the NCAA tournament, located in Indianapolis and San Antonio. In addition, it provided an image of the so-called women’s “weight room,” which ended up being a small stack of light dumbbells and a folding table. However, Prince then presents a panorama of the men’s weight room which is filled with an abundance of equipment enhancing their stay. Later in the video, Prince mentions, “Now when pictures of our weight room got released versus the men’s, the NCAA came out with a statement saying that it wasn’t money, it was space that was the problem.” She then proceeds to show a large empty space next to the women’s practice court, just waiting to be occupied. Prince ends the TikTok by stating, “If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you are a part of it.”

A short while later, the NCAA vice president of women’s basketball, Lynn Holzmann, responds to this video on NBC News. Below is the apology:

“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment,” and adds, “In part, this is due to the limited space and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available later in the tournament. However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams, and we are actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment.”

Many celebrities reacted with tweets, such as Stephen Curry, Billie Jean King, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Stacey Dales, and others enraged at the NCAA’s actions.

As of March 20, 2021, NBC News announces that the NCAA women’s basketball players have received a new weight room. This one now includes a vast amount of equipment which should have been there from the beginning. Many players individually thanked the NCAA for listening and tending to their needs.

Even though the sexism was intolerable, it has led to necessary change throughout the NCAA franchise. Due to this issue being brought to light, many people became aware of the sometimes negative view people have on women’s sports as a whole. Sedona Prince stood up and sent a message for the women participating in the tournament, as well as women and female athletes across the globe.