Coach calls out NCAA tournament on facility disparity for women in Texas, versus men in Indiana – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
SAN ANTONIO (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The elite student-athlete group had barely landed in Texas when complaints of unfairness between women’s and men’s tournaments roared over social media posts, noting that women’s weight training facilities at San Antonio was sorely lacking what the men have in Indianapolis. The women’s field has 64 teams and the men’s tournament has 68.
In a Twitter post, Ali Kershner, Stanford athletic coach for women’s basketball, posted a photo of a single stack of weights next to a workout table with sanitized yoga mats, comparing it to photos of massive facilities for men with stacks of free weights, dumbbells and squat racks.
“These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities,” Kershner tweeted. “In a year defined by a fight for equality, this is a chance to have a conversation and to improve.”
Many of the best basketball players see it as a bigger problem than just a weight room.
“We’re all thankful to be here and it took a lot of effort to put it all together,” UConn All-American freshman Paige Bueckers said on an AP Twitter chat Thursday night. “It’s more a question of principle. It’s not just a weight room that’s a problem. It is the inequality of the weight rooms that poses the problem. There’s another tweet going around with the loot bag. It’s not just the weight room. It’s inequality and the best things men get.
South Carolina star Aliyah Boston agreed with Bueckers on inequality.
“The men have it all in this weight room and we have yoga mats,” she said. “What are we supposed to do this?” The bags, I’m glad we have shower gel, but they have quite a store.
The current players received a lot of support from several former prominent and current WNBA players who quickly tweeted their support for women and their criticism of the NCAA.
“This NCAA bubble gym situation 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.
NCAA Senior Vice President of Women’s Basketball Lynn Holzman said the governing body will try to quickly improve the equipment available at 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 shrinks in the final rounds.
“We recognize that some of the equipment teams would generally have access to not having been so available in the controlled environment. This is in part due to the limited space and the original plan was to expand the training area once more space was available later in the tournament, ”said Holzman. “However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams, and we are actively working to improve the existing resources at the training grounds, including additional weight training equipment.”
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)