As March Madness continues, so does the blatantly sexist mistreatment of women's basketball teams by the NCAA.
On March 23, Georgia Tech's women's basketball coach Nell Fortner tweeted a scathing "thank you" letter to the NCAA. Fortner critiqued the glaring differences between the treatment of the women's and men's basketball teams during the tournaments taking place in San Antonio, Texas.
https://t.co/pXcUR5Stc3— Nell Fortner (@Nell Fortner)1616500990.0
Fortner's critique comes in the wake of a viral TikTok and Twitter post shared by Sedona Prince, a basketball player from the University of Oregon. In the video, which now has over 17.2 million views on Twitter and 9.2 million views on TikTok, Prince showed the various workout equipment provided to the men's teams, compared to the small stack of weights given to the women's teams.
Nell Fortner's tweet sarcastically thanked the NCAA for showing everyone their true colors:
"Thank you for using the three biggest weeks of your organization's year to expose exactly how you feel about women's basketball — an afterthought."
"Thank you for showing off the disparities between the men's and women's tournament that are on full display in San Antonio, from COVID testing, to lack of weight training facilities, to game floors that hardly tell anyone that it's the NCAA Tournament and many more."
"But these disparities are just a snapshot of larger, more pervasive issues when it come to women's sports and the NCAA."
Connecticut basketball coach Geno Auriemma revealed last week that the men's team's have been receiving daily PCR tests while women's team's have been receiving only daily antigen tests. By the Food and Drug Administration standards, this causes "a higher chance of missing an active infection."
In a PBS interview, award-winning Washington Post sportswriter Sally Jenkins shared that even the decaling of the floors was different.
"You might think you were watching a high school tournament. You might think you were watching a junior college tournament. The difference in presentation is really striking at times."
Fortner concluded with:
"For too long women's basketball has accepted an attitude and treatment from the NCAA that has been substandard in its championships."
"It's time for this to stop. It's time for women's basketball to receive the treatment it has earned."
"Thank you for the exposure."
Though the NCAA issued an official apology, many didn't find it to be enough.
NCAA Vice President of women's basketball Lynn Holzman said in a press briefing:
"We fell short this year in what we've been doing to prepare in the last 60 days for 64 for teams to be here in San Antonio, and we acknowledge that."
"We're trying to do the right thing."
Twitter continued to spread the coach's message and rally behind women's basketball, highlighting the NCAA's unacceptable treatment and attitude.
@NellOnWheels Thanks, Nell! When I see such blatant disregard for equality, I always think about Title 9 and how la… https://t.co/HFIfyNreEy— ناظم بدر (@ناظم بدر)1616522979.0
#NCAA violations of their own #TitleIX document: #6 - Men custom courts all sites #7 - Men have more reliable Covi… https://t.co/nTAXTThB4U— Chris Campbell (@Chris Campbell)1616593558.0
I promise there is enough money on the ncaa women’s basketball side to afford more than a dozen yoga mats & dumbbel… https://t.co/WxJwTSK1z7— Brianna Turner (@Brianna Turner)1616149362.0
I could be missing it, but all the Republican lawmakers in Congress who have been talking about trans kids supposed… https://t.co/oKZ082Wkmc— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1616255961.0
@NPR How is this still a thing?!?! https://t.co/uj4J6ANHsX— Alyson Lea Freeman (@Alyson Lea Freeman)1616211381.0
@avngangel @CNNTonight @donlemon That wasn't an apology. That was a gaslighting attempt to make all of us believe t… https://t.co/f8AUWG4M6D— Kaladin&Syl (@Kaladin&Syl)1616260366.0
@NellOnWheels People falling back on the excuse of "it's the money, stupid" seem to be incapable of realizing that… https://t.co/Xh53J5jwX0— NicoleTheSingingTrainer (@NicoleTheSingingTrainer)1616680415.0
@NellOnWheels What’s not a surprise - men coaches of women’s basketball out-earn women coaches. When it comes to ma… https://t.co/U4xo5XeGSy— andrea silbert (@andrea silbert)1616604769.0
Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction towards equity for women in sports.