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Following backlash, the NCAA updated its women’s weight room for March Madness athletes. This change comes after women basketball players exposed the organization for providing them with inadequate equipment in comparison to their male counterparts while training in San Antonio. On March 18, various athletes competing in the women’s basketball tournament shared a peek at the pitiful resources available to them. A single dumbbell rack and a pile of yoga mats were deemed appropriate for the women’s teams, while the men were given various equipment for proper heavy lifting.
College athletes, like University of Oregon’s Sedona Prince, held the NCAA accountable by posting videos and photos of the lackluster “weight room” on TikTok. The following day, the association’s vice president of women’s basketball, Lynn Holzman, released an apologetic statement. “As a former women’s basketball student-athlete, it’s always been my priority to make this event the best possible experience for everyone involved,” she said. “We fell short this year in what we’ve been doing to prepare in the past 60 days for 64 teams to be here in San Antonio.” The NCAA’s vice president of men’s basketball also released a statement, and said, “I apologize to the women’s basketball student-athletes, coaches and the women’s basketball committee for dropping the ball on the weight rooms in San Antonio.”
— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) March 20, 2021
Seemingly overnight, the women’s weight room was transformed into a fully functional training facility. As Prince documented on her TikTok, the once-vacant space now includes multiple dumbbell racks, squat racks, resistance bands, treadmills, and more. This added equipment was well-received by the athletes but begs the question: Is this too little, too late? And why do women continue to be an afterthought in athletics? The answer will not come as easily as filling a weight room in a few hours, but be sure, March Madness fans plan to hold the NCAA accountable in the future.