A viral video showing the disparity between male and female exercise facilities provided by the NCAA during the March Madness basketball tournaments prompted the collegiate sports organization to apologize and make some changes.
Sedona Prince, a basketball player for The University of Oregon, previously posted a video exposing the contrast between the well-equipped men's facilities in Indianapolis and the women's weight room that only had a single stand for lightweights at the San Antonio tournament facilities.
"If you aren't upset about this problem, then you're a part of it," said Prince in the video, which you can see here.
Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention https://t.co/t0DWKL2YHR— Sedona Prince (@Sedona Prince) 1616120796.0
Prince added March was also about more than just basketball.
Oh and it’s women’s history month.... the irony. https://t.co/JD4mFqkwlD— Sedona Prince (@Sedona Prince) 1616121649.0
Her post calling out the NCAA and their excuse it was an "available space" issue received some high profile attention on social media.
wow-come on now! @marchmadness @NCAA yall trippin trippin. https://t.co/iCHqV3QSWA— Stephen Curry (@Stephen Curry) 1616134112.0
Kyrie Irving spoke out on the disparities between the men’s and women’s facilities at their respective NCAA tournam… https://t.co/WNPBvWnJiw— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) 1616212324.0
It also brought to light a number of other inequities.
1. Weight rooms 2. Swag bags 3. Food 4. Covid tests And the winner... 5. If a mom brings her baby it will count a… https://t.co/Lb148lBL9I— Kylie Russell (@Kylie Russell) 1616213211.0
Since we’ve been talking a lot about the NCAA and their treatment of the women’s game this past few days... Just go… https://t.co/FzO0mIdCF1— Brenna Greene (@Brenna Greene) 1616385306.0
My goodness. At the men's basketball tournament, the NCAA is using high-quality PCR coronavirus testing. At the wom… https://t.co/lLMBccv0t3— Mike Baker (@Mike Baker) 1616214510.0
After the video prompted online backlash for the scarcity of equipment in the women's basketball tournament's weight room, the NCAA responded by providing an upgrade with benches, more free weights, racks and cardio equipment.
"Social media is powerful," tweeted Prince, adding, "Thank you for all of y'all's support."
The student-athlete's latest video showed the vast improvement to the facilities and the positive reaction from her teammates upon discovering the equipment upgrade on Saturday morning.
Prince exclaimed in the video:
"Guess what, guys? We got a weight room! Thank you, NCAA, for listening to us. We appreciate y'all, for real."
Social media is powerful. Thank you for all of y’all’s support https://t.co/YR5ZNwywv6— Sedona Prince (@Sedona Prince) 1616270771.0
The controversy started when Ali Kershner, a coach at Stanford, first shared the photos showing a discrepancy with the workout equipment provided for the men and women teams.
@ncaawbb @ncaa this needs to be addressed. These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities. 3 wee… https://t.co/OsgH2LPVKv— Ali Kershner, MS, CSCS (@Ali Kershner, MS, CSCS) 1616085591.0
The photo below showed the women's weight room—a single rack of lightweights and a table in an otherwise empty and underutilized space.
And this photo was from the men's weight room which was filled with squat racks, benches, extended-weight dumbbells and other equipment.
The NCAA's Vice President of women's basketball, Lynn Holzman, issued a statement saying the NCAA acknowledged "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."
Statement from Lynn Holzman, NCAA VP of women’s basketball. #ncaaW https://t.co/gYsesS9Hky— NCAA Women’s Basketball (@NCAA Women’s Basketball) 1616106528.0
But the VP's excuse, which did not include a formal apology, did not sit well with Prince, which led to her viral post on March 18.
On Friday, NCAA President Mark Emmert apologized to the women's teams.
"This is not something that should have happened and, should we ever conduct a tournament like this again, will never happen again," said Emmert.
Prince followed up her tweet of appreciation with gratitude.
Also thank you @ncaawbb @NCAA for listening. All of the teams appreciate you— Sedona Prince (@Sedona Prince) 1616270895.0
Social media users praised Prince for leading the charge but also commented there still needs to be progress for the treatment of female athletes.
@sedonaprince_ Still not as good as the men’s, but a huge improvement.— Tammy Young Miller (@Tammy Young Miller) 1616270928.0
@sedonaprince_ @SophiaBush Ncaa doesn’t get credit for unscrewing up a situation they screwed up so bad in the first place— Richard (@Richard) 1616273404.0
@sedonaprince_ @bilf30 So glad you took this on and made it go viral! What is sad though is that you had to do it a… https://t.co/3LACMoBdeN— Sarah Brown (@Sarah Brown) 1616278645.0
@sedonaprince_ @fox12oregon The NCAA didn't do this out of the goodness of their hearts. They did it because they w… https://t.co/AZRQl9q9d0— Cindy Schmidt (@Cindy Schmidt) 1616275292.0
@sedonaprince_ Why the hell was this so hard to do the first time? Was it really that hard to reach out and ask for… https://t.co/ZEp6WH1e9U— ✨no.e.mi✨ (@✨no.e.mi✨) 1616281618.0
Don’t applaud the NCAA for upgrading the women’s weight facility. They had the money all along and should’ve done t… https://t.co/DIJIoNfJj8— Connor Barnes (@Connor Barnes) 1616269224.0
The reason why the NCAA initially skimped on providing women players gym equipment remains questionable.
@tony5o0 @SharonL62202526 @sedonaprince_ They don't promote women the same.. If they put half as much energy market… https://t.co/Nd4ir5oru1— Blueberry Dawn: Karma, stomp the nitro, lets go! (@Blueberry Dawn: Karma, stomp the nitro, lets go!) 1616312427.0
Twitter user @RichDevall argued:
"Whether they bring in less money or not is a nonsense argument, they have a $50m a year TV deal for this tournament, last time I checked that is just about enough to set up a proper weight room without being shamed into it."
@beetle11WVU @sedonaprince_ @TheAndyKatz Whether they bring in less money or not is a nonsense argument, they have… https://t.co/oMvIWPcArr— Dickie G (@Dickie G) 1616272431.0