NCAA basketball administrators apologized to women’s basketball players and coaches after inequalities between the men’s and women’s tournament went viral on social media and vowed to do better.
NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt promised to do better during a zoom call Friday morning, a day after photos showed the difference between the weight rooms at the two tournaments.
“I apologize to the student-athletes, coaches and committee for letting the ball slip on the weight room issue in san antonio, we’ll get it fixed ASAP,” Gavitt said.
During the announcement, other differences were raised: there are 68 teams in the men’s field, 64 in the women’s field; and the ncaa pays for the men’s national invitation tournament, but not the women’s.
“The size of the field and the nit, those would be decisions made in conjunction with the membership,” Gavitt said. “Those are not decisions we can make independently. These are good questions and it is timely to raise these issues again.”
In a move to solve the weight room problem, the NCAA converted the space at the convention center into a usable training facility. That job should be finished by Saturday. The NCAA had offered to put a weightlifting area in the open space next to the practice courts, but the coaches didn’t want that because then other teams would be nearby when they were practicing.
“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 recognize that,” said lynn holzman, ncaa senior vice president of women’s basketball, who was a former college basketball player. “Last night we had a call with our coaches and team managers to ask for feedback and their experience so far.
“Yesterday was the first day our teams had a chance to practice,” he said. “Part of that call was to get feedback on possible solutions to address some of those concerns, including the weight room issue.”
The issue came to light following a twitter post by ali kershner, stanford sports performance coach for women’s basketball, who shared a photo of a single stack of weights next to a training table with yoga mats disinfected, comparing it with images of huge facilities. for men with loads of free weights, dumbbells and squat racks.
“These women want and deserve to have the same opportunities,” Kershner tweeted. “In a year defined by the fight for equality, this is an opportunity to talk and improve.”
The current players received a lot of support from several of the wnba’s top former college players and current players who were quick to tweet their support for the women and criticize the ncaa.
“That situation in the ncaa bubble weight room is beyond disrespectful,” tweeted a’ja wilson, who led south carolina to the 2017 national championship and now plays for the las vegas aces in the wnba .
“I thought this was a joke,” Sabrina Ionescu, the first pick in last year’s WNBA draft, said in a tweet. “what is this?!”
While the difference between the men’s and women’s weight facilities was clearly jarring, in the handbook that the ncaa had sent out to teams prior to the tournament, it specifically stated that no weights would be available until after the second round of the tournament. tournament.
This is the first time in the women’s tournament that all games are played on neutral sites. In the past, campuses would host opening rounds so teams could schedule weight room times on campus.
gavitt said the ncaa will take this opportunity for better collaboration between men’s and women’s basketball.
“What we put together in months and years, we try to put together in weeks and days,” he said. “that means some shortcomings. I apologize and feel terrible for anything that doesn’t live up to our lofty expectations. we have also seen some of those deficiencies in indianapolis.”
ncaa senior vice president of women’s basketball lynn holzman said the governing body would try to quickly improve the team available in the women’s tournament. The original setup was limited due to a lack of available space in San Antonio, with plans to expand once the tournament field shrank in later rounds.
“We recognize that some of the services that teams would normally have access to were not as readily available within the controlled environment. In part this is due to limited space and the original plan was to expand the training area once additional space became available later in the tournament,” Holzman said. “However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams and are actively working to enhance existing resources on the practice courts, including additional weight training equipment.”