• Janeytzi Padilla

NCAA's Inequality Towards Women's Basketball

For several decades women have been fighting for gender equality all around the world. They have been asking for equal representation in sports, at work, and anywhere else you could possibly think of. As the NCAA March Madness Tournament began, photos and videos were quickly released of the treatment women basketball players were receiving compared to the treatment men basketball players were receiving. As an athlete, it is important to constantly work out, but how are 64 women's teams supposed to workout with a single rack of weights and a few yoga mats? Why couldn’t they be provided with more than a single rack of weights if the men received a room lined up with equipment practically making it seem like a gym?

As soon as word got out and people became furious, the NCAA released a statement saying that money wasn’t the issue and that it was simply about not having enough space to put the equipment. But Oregon Ducks’ Sedona Prince shared a video quickly contradicting the NCAA’s statement. In the video, she showed the one rack of weights that they were provided with and turned around to show a big open space with nothing but a few chairs in it that could perfectly fit the same amount of equipment that the men received. After the news of the inequality spread faster and faster, companies started offering the women free gym equipment and some even offered to open up their doors to them at no cost at all. Huge celebrities in both the NBA and WNBA started tweeting about how the NCAA needs to do better and that this battle for inequality is a battle that should have been long over.

The inequality witnessed with the weight rooms was only one of many. Every year all teams receive swag bags and what the women received in theirs is nothing compared to what the men received. The men received about three times more items than the women did and yet the NCAA officials said that the swag bags were of equal value when in the pictures provided by athletes, you can clearly see that they are not of equal value whatsoever. The men were provided with packs of Lysol wipes, multiple bottles of shampoo, deodorant, and a lot of other accessories that women didn't receive. Not only did they receive fewer quality swag bags, they also received lesser quality food. How are athletes supposed to practice and play at their full potential if they're not eating well? Men in the NCAA Tournament were practically served a buffet while the women were served plates of food that can be mistaken for dog food. The athletes had to be isolated in their hotel rooms for three weeks without any physical contact and had little to no fans at their games so you’d think the least the NCAA officials could have done is treat them like they treated the men.

Many argued that all this inequality is due to women not bringing in as many viewers which equates to having less money to provide them with equal provisions, but if women's basketball was constantly promoted like men's basketball, they could possibly bring in those viewers. Instead of treating the women's NCAA teams unfairly they should be provided with what they need to attract viewers, such as an adequate weight room and food to help them perform at their best on the court.

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