Report: NCAA Will Review Differences in Amenities at Men's, Women's Tournaments

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

The March Madness logo is shown on the court during the first half of a men's college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

NCAA President Mark Emmert wrote a letter acknowledging "a number of balls were dropped" when it came to the differences between the amenities available at the men's and women's basketball tournaments.

Heather Dinich of ESPN reported the news and shared more of Emmert's words to staff:

"I have directed our leadership team and appropriate staff to assess all the services, resources, and facilities provided to both the men's and women's teams so that we have a completely clear comparison. Further, I will be determining exactly how we found ourselves in this situation. This will be discussed with our applicable boards, committees and membership when the tournament is over and the review is complete.

"For now, please know that I am deeply disappointed that the past few days have been focused on NCAA blunders rather than the remarkable athletes in San Antonio. Putting on these tournaments is always an enormous feat, and this year has been much more difficult to say the least. I know how hard our staff has worked and thank you for your continued perseverance. I hope that we can now turn our attention to the women's games with confidence that they are receiving all that they need and deserve. You have my assurances that all will be done to make sure this never happens again."

The differences for men's players in Indiana and women's players in Texas have served as primary storylines in the early rounds of both tournaments.

Pictures of spacious and modern weight facilities available to the men's players compared to paltry options for the women's players made the rounds on social media and drew plenty of reaction:

Sedona Prince @sedonaprince_

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

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

CJ McCollum @CJMcCollum

That’s 🗑 they gotta do better https://t.co/IDSQ5pxPLn

Connor Bran of NCAA.org noted NCAA Vice President for Women's Basketball Lynn Holzman said the organization "fell short," while NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt apologized for the situation.

Alex Azzi of NBC Sports summarized more of the differences, which extended to men's players using PCR tests for COVID-19 compared to women's players using daily antigen tests. There were also differences in the food available, and most of the courts for the women's tournament did not feature NCAA branding.

Even the logos for the Final Four are different with the women's one including the word "women's" and the men's one just saying Final Four.