March Madness is some of the wildest time for the NCAA. Two major basketball tournaments going on at the same time is a dream for the money hungry NCAA.
This year, the men’s and women’s tournaments are using a bubble due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Which is probably the right thing to do. Whether you think the pandemic is serious or not, the NCAA isn’t going to miss out on that cash cow for a second consecutive time.
The Men’s Tournament is being held exclusively in the state of Indiana, and the Women’s tournament is being held in the greater San Antonio area.
Recently, a picture of the “weight room” that was provided by the NCAA for the women to use while in the bubble was released by Stanford performance coach Ali Kerschner. To say it was embarrassing is an understatement. It was six pairs of weights. Which, as anyone who knows fitness will say, that is not a lot.
Then the NCAA came out with a statement trying to explain why that was the case. Among a lot of useless excuses, the main issue according to the organization was “limited space.”
Then, images of the men’s workout rooms emerged on social media. The men’s area features all kinds of fitness equipment. Benches, racks, free weights, resistance machines, among other things. Needless to say, the inequality has blown up on social media.
Oregon women’s player Sedona Prince, tweeted a video showing a panoramic video of the men’s workout room. Then she showed the comical lack of equipment in the women’s training area. Then, Prince directly addressed the “space” restraints that the NCAA cited in their statement. Even I could see that space did not seem to be an issue in the area. There was ample room to throw in a couple more pieces of fitness equipment.
This is just the latest in a long line of controversies that has plagued college sports. Mainly the fact that these athletes bring in millions of dollars to line their pockets, and the players hardly see any of it. Meanwhile, coaches, athletic directors and other executives see huge salaries and live lavishly. The NCAA has been getting away with things for too long.
I’m not saying that everything has to be 100% equal. They do not have to have the exact same equipment in each space. That’s where things begin to get out of hand. Nobody should be in the weight rooms counting the number of dumbbells in each one. But there should be at least some semblance of a typical fitness area.
The NCAA’s pathetic excuse of “there’s no space” is honestly the bigger issue here. First off, if they were going to lie, at least make up a lie that is hard to prove. It probably took Sedona Prince about 10 minutes to go to the gym and make that video. It was incredibly easy to disprove their idiotic attempt.
Now, if the NCAA had said it was a funding issue, that could be a tad harder to disprove. Still not hard, but harder than a 30 second video. I say this because, like it or not, the women’s NCAA tournament does not bring in as much money as the men’s. It’s just factual. I’m not here to debate that. Even saying that, there is no way the NCAA couldn’t spend a few bucks to get a halfway decent weight room in the women’s training facility. Hell, I’m sure they could’ve paid some fitness center in San Antonio to close down and be used exclusively for the tournament. It’s easy in my opinion.
Any athletes that are being bubbled for a long tournament should have at least adequate fitness equipment. It is just that simple.
Here is some free advice for the NCAA. If you’re going to lie about something like this, be more creative. An easy lie could’ve been, “well, we ordered more equipment, it just hasn’t got there yet.” Then immediately go online and order exactly what the men had and get it there within 24 hours. Incredibly difficult to disprove that. Could even have some supplier lie for you. Enough cash goes a long way to convince someone. Instead, they throw out this BS about space.
I’m sure within the week, there will be much better fitness equipment in the training facility. Like there should be. But it shouldn’t have to come to sharing pictures on social media to get a half decent workout at a major college tournament.