Kyrie Irving: Men's, Women's NCAA Tournament Disparities Are 'Unacceptable'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts against the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 11, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Kyrie Irving spoke about the differences between the amenities available at the NCAA men's and women's tournaments following the Brooklyn Nets' loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday.

"That's unacceptable for that to be going on for that not to even be a conversation about what the women need there," he told reporters:

Nets Videos @SNYNets

Kyrie Irving comments on the disparities between the bubbles for the NCAA Men's & Women's Tournaments: "That's unacceptable for that to be going on for that not to even be a conversation about what the women need there" https://t.co/uwvubAoR2v

Irving is not the only NBA player to criticize the NCAA, as Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum said that "they gotta do better," while Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant said it was "disrespectful."

The differences have been in the national spotlight after pictures of the spacious men's weight rooms with plenty of training equipment compared to the lackluster setup for the women's players circulated on social media:

Sabrina Ionescu @sabrina_i20

Women’s @NCAA bubble weight room vs Men’s weight room... thought this was a joke. WTF is this?!? To all the women playing in the @marchmadness tournament, keep grinding! https://t.co/K04KTv6s46

A'ja Wilson @_ajawilson22

... nah they tweaking on the swag bag too?!?! https://t.co/tdxx5lOQuc

Kelsey Plum @Kelseyplum10

We want some answers @NCAA who thought this was acceptable???? https://t.co/mOBXQb6OBT

The men's tournament is taking place in Indiana, while the women's tournament is taking place in Texas.

NCAA vice president Lynn Holzman released a statement addressing the issue:

"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 and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available later in the tournament. However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams, and we are actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment."

Molly Hensley-Clancy of the Washington Post noted the NCAA told her there was "not enough space" for similar facilities for the women's players.

However, Sedona Prince of the Oregon Ducks disputed that notion:

Sedona Prince @sedonaprince_

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

The first round of the men's tournament started Friday, while the first round of the women's tournament starts Sunday.