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NCAA Gender Inequity Cuts Deeper Than Just Weight Room Issues at Tournament

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The 2021 men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments are each being held in their entirety at two, separate geographical locations, making them the most unique tournaments the NCAA has ever held. The men’s hub is Indianapolis and the women will play in San Antonio.

The tournaments each have their own organizing committees, structures and set ups. There was one glaring disparity between the tournaments when a Stanford coach shared photos of respective weight rooms at the tournaments. The men’s workout facility was expansive with lots of weights, racks, benches and overall equipment and space. The women’s area had one rack of 12 dumbbells, some yoga mats and an exercise bike.

Social media lost its mind over the differences. The NCAA added more weights to the women’s area—still far fewer than the men have—and they added some flashy lighting, which social media ridiculed.

A’ja Wilson #22 and head coach Dawn Staley of the South Carolina Gamecocks hold the NCAA trophy and celebrates with their team after winning the championship game against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Final Four at American Airlines Center on April 2, 2017 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Although she appreciated the efforts of the NCAA to pull off a mammoth task of assembling 64 teams in San Antonio for the women’s event, she also pointed out the issues with March Madness and Final Four Twitters and logos that reference just the men’s events.

“How do we explain that to our players?” Staley asked. “How can an organization that claims to care about ALL member institutions’ student-athlete experiences have a copyrighted term that only “represents” one gender?”

For NCAA soccer, there are the “Men’s College Cup” and the “Women’s College Cup.” In some sports like swimming, cross country and track, there are separate “men’s” and “women’s” designations for their championships.

But in the NCAA, there is also the “College World Series” for baseball (men) and then the “Women’s College World Series” for softball.

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