Dawn Staley Addresses 'Glaring Deficiencies' Between Men's, Women's Tournaments

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2021

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley communicates with players during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Missouri on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

South Carolina women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley said the discrepancies between how the NCAA has treated its male and female basketball players at their respective tournaments this year has been "disheartening" and called for "NCAA leadership to reevaluate the value they place on women."

Staley released the following statement on Twitter Friday:

dawnstaley @dawnstaley

#WHATMATTERS https://t.co/QTQzCwbnZT

One of the discrepancies between the men and the women at this year's tournaments has been the COVID-19 testing, as UConn head coach Geno Auriemma described Friday:

Amanda Christovich @achristovichh

On call with reporters, UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma confirms that inside their respective bubbles, men's teams are using daily PCR tests and women's teams are using daily antigen tests. He doesn't know why they're using different types of tests.

Jordan Mendoza of USA Today reported that the FDA notes antigen tests have a greater chance of failing to detect an active infection, while Memorial Healthcare has classified the PCR test as the "gold standard" given that it "actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms."

The differences didn't stop there. Oregon women's basketball player Sedona Prince and Stanford University sports performance coach Ali Kershner shared images of the difference between the men's substantial weightlifting facilities and the women's small rack of dumbells:

Sedona Prince @sedonaprince_

Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention https://t.co/t0DWKL2YHR

There were also discrepancies in the food served to the men and women and the size of the swag bags given out to the athletes: 

Sarah Spain @SarahSpain

Soooo not enough space for food options either, @ncaa @ncaawbb? https://t.co/4gsCNObZS2

AJ McCord @AJ_McCord

Here are the differences in amenities/provisions between the Women’s & Men’s NCAA Tournament I’ve seen so far - Weight room/equipment - Food - Swag Bags Photos from: @Cpav15, @sedonaprince_, @danhenry3, @alikershner https://t.co/2YfCeXaJNn

And the NCAA's child care offerings were found to be lacking:

Lindsey Adler @lindseyadler

The NCAA isn't offering support for childcare and breastfeeding children count against the 34-person traveling party limit, putting women coaches in an impossible spot. Cool, cool. https://t.co/iY6LKDi4uz https://t.co/2F0FVyz8nK

The organizing body has come under heavy scrutiny for its treatment of the women's basketball players at this year's tournament:

espnW @espnW

"Let’s be real, we are not only conditioned to expect less. We are also told to appreciate what we’re given. … Women deserve better. Period.” — @chiney https://t.co/0YC1nZw7qD

Layshia Clarendon @Layshiac

I love this generation of college basketball players because the fearlessness they have to speak up about injustices is something I didn’t have in college. The “grateful & happy to be here” women’s athlete is a thing of the past. I’m celebrating that fact today! Proud of y’all!

Brianna Turner @_Breezy_Briii

I promise there is enough money on the ncaa women’s basketball side to afford more than a dozen yoga mats & dumbbells for a 64 team bubble tournament. Revenue isn’t the issue. It was a serious lack of planning and concern that will hopefully be remedied asap.

Katie Barnes @katie_barnes3

What I find to be most upsetting about the accommodations for players in the #ncaaw tournament vs. the men’s tournament is that the apparent assumption of organizers was that the players and coaching staffs simply wouldn’t say anything publicly about the inequality.

"We have intentionally organized basketball under one umbrella, with the goal of consistency and collaboration. When we fall short of these expectations, that's on me," NCAA vice president for basketball Dan Gavitt told reporters Friday. "I apologize to women's 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. We'll get it fixed as soon as possible."