NCAA officials apologize to female student-athletes for "dropping the ball" on gender equity
SAN FRANCISCO - NCAA officials apologized Friday after videos and photos circulated on social media, criticizing the organization for its stark differences in amenities provided for men versus women.
Stanford sports trainer Ali Kershner posted contrasting images on Instagram Thursday, showing a weight room setup in Indianapolis for the men's basketball athletes, and then showing a single rack of dumbells provided for the women playing in San Antonio.
Sedona Prince, an athlete for the University of Oregon, shared a video comparing the weight rooms on her Tiktok and Twitter.
The Golden State Warriors' Steph Curry retweeted Prince's video, writing "wow, come on now," and tagging the NCAA and March Madness Twitter handles.
"I saw the story today, I saw the photos of the two respective weight rooms, and yeah it was really ridiculous," Warriors' coach Steve Kerr said. "I hope that the NCAA is clearing that up right away and giving the women the facilities that they deserve."
The NCAA issued a statement taking full responsibility on Friday, and multiple officials apologized.
"When we don't meet the expectations of that support, that's on me and for that I apologize to the women basketball student athletes, to the coaches, to the women's basketball committee for dropping the ball frankly on the weight room issue in San Antonio," Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of Basketball, said.
Lynn Holzman, the NCAA vice president of women's basketball and a former college athlete, vowed to make immediate changes by outfitting the 64 women teams with a more substantial weight room by Saturday morning.
Women's teams pay the NCAA to paly in the National Invitational Tournament, while the men's teams do not. That gender discrepancy, Gavitt said, is something the larger governing structure of the NCAA needs to consider.
"I've experienced when you don't have something that's the same," Holzman said. "This is also why it hit such a nerve with me"
She added that the NCAA has also taken steps with local hotels and restaurants to ensure that athletes have more meal options and availability, after hearing complaints.
"We are working to quickly fix it in this moment," Nina king, vice chair of the NCAA women basketball committee said," but I think we need to continue to have broader conversations."