NCAA Basketball Leaders Apologize for Amenity Disparities Between Men, WomenMarch 19, 2021
A number of prominent figures in the NCAA have apologized for the disparity in amenities provided to teams in the men's and women's basketball tournaments.
Per Connor Bran of NCAA.org, Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president for women's basketball, opened a news conference Friday by addressing the situation.
"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," Holzman 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."
Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, also spoke about the disparities:
"We have intentionally organized basketball under one umbrella [at the NCAA] to ensure consistency and collaboration. When we fall short on these expectations, it's on me. I apologize to women's basketball student-athletes, coaches and the women's basketball committee for dropping the ball on the weight rooms in San Antonio."
The NCAA came under fire Thursday after multiple people, including Stanford associate Olympic sports performance coach Ali Kershner and Oregon forward Sedona Prince, showed the differences in amenities for women's teams compared to men's teams:
Earlier in the day, Molly Hensley-Clancy of the Washington Post shared an email sent by Suzette McQueen, chair of the NCAA committee on women's athletics, to NCAA President Mark Emmert that called on the organization to "immediately rectify the situation by providing equitable training facilities and services."
Alex Azzi of NBC Sports reported other disparities between the two tournaments, including the food quality and participants' swag bags.
Holzman initially responded to the situation in a statement Thursday that said: "We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment. In part, this is due to the limited space."
The statement also noted the NCAA was "actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment."
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA is holding the men's and women's tournaments in single areas to reduce the amount of travel. The men's event, which began Thursday with the First Four games, is being held in and around Indianapolis.
The women's tournament is being held in San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos, Texas. First-round games will begin Sunday.