The Division I Men's Basketball Tournament has kicked off in Indianapolis, Indiana and it has been nothing short of exciting thus far. UCLA pulled off a come-from-behind victory to take out Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans. Also, Texas Southern and Norfolk State represented HBCUs well with two wins on Thursday. Simply put, March is here! However, things could be a bit better.
On Thursday, Arizona Women's Basketball Head Coach Adia Barnes highlighted the discrepancies between the accommodations made for the men's tournament and the amenities available for the women's tournament. From housing to shared spaces there were clear differences, but Stanford coach Ali Kershner illustrated the difference between the women's weight room and the men's weight room through pictures.
"In a year defined by a fight for equality," she wrote.
"This is a chance to have a conversation and get better."
Over time, posts made by players and coaches gained traction. Images shared across social media gained thousands of retweets and likes. Some even chimed in with jokes sprinkled with a bit of social commentary. After the situation developed, the NCAA offered an apology.
"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," NCAA Vice President Lynn Holzman said.
"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."
Barnes was not satisfied with Holzman's response. She felt that there was enough room in the convention center for additional amenities. Simply, she feels that someone dropped the ball.
"To me, there was no thought [put] into that, and I don't think there should be such a big disparity. The fact is, when I look around the convention center where we just left, there's plenty of room. There's plenty of open areas, which I've walked through," Barnes told ESPN.
"I think that's just not acceptable. Someone dropped the ball on it. It's fine; we can fix this. There's nothing to do but fix it, because it's not right. I was embarrassed when I saw it."
Along with the 63 other teams, Barnes and Wildcats will kick off the Division I Women's Basketball Tournament on Sunday.
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