As you may know, the NCAA is currently at the finish line of their 2021 March Madness tournament. Last year, everyone missed out; the fans, players, coaches, and schools, and everyone was very eager to get the ball rolling this year. However, it was only a few days after the start of the Women’s March Madness tournament, when videos emerged from numerous players calling out the NCAA for the disparities the women's teams were facing.
The first video that gained mass attention on social media was that of Oregon’s Sedona Prince. Prince, a redshirt sophomore who transferred from Texas last year, posted a TikTok showing the difference between the men’s and women’s locker rooms at the NCAA tournament. She captioned it “ if you’re not mad you’re part of the problem” and the video immediately took off. Other players followed Prince, taking videos to show the differences between the men’s and women’s meals during the tournament and swag bags, amongst other issues.
At first, the NCAA said that their reasoning for the different sizes of the two weight rooms was that there just wasn’t enough “room” for more equipment for the women, but rest assured only a few days after that video took off, the women were granted a much better, and bigger weight room.
The NCAA has had its fair share of controversies, and this is just the most recent issue being brought up. Women are tired of waiting to be treated with the same amount of respect as men are, and this goes for all women, not just athletes; but the NCAA has to do better. The whole “women’s basketball is boring” is a very outdated, and misogynistic saying that needs to be stopped. During UCONN and BAYLOR’s Elite 8 game, there was an estimated 1.703 million views, which is an awfully high number for “boring” basketball.
What Prince did was draw attention to the NCAA and the lack of equity that runs within their organization. Her TikTok took off and drew nationwide attention and helped boost views of the women's tournament. On Friday, March 26, the NCAA provided ESPN and The New York Times with past tournament budgets, and during the 2018-2019 March Madness tournament, the budget for the men’s tournament was $28 million, whereas, for the women, it was only $14.5 million.
Being a female athlete myself, and a woman who just loves watching the games, what the NCAA demonstrated at the beginning of this tournament, and how they are continuing to ignore their female athletes, is very disheartening and disgusting. Fixing one weight room isn't going to fix the root of this problem- the misogynistic environment of the NCAA. It is a shame that they haven’t done a better job at being advocates for their female athletes and promote their women’s tournaments more.
Of course, the NCAA has excuses for all of these issues, but at the end of the day they are not only violating TITLE IX by the fact that they do not ensure that female athlete are treated equitably, but they are also showing to all of the little girls who are aspiring athletes, that they, just as society, respect the men and their overall value more than theirs. Women have fought for equality for years, and have been constantly met with less than the bare minimum. When is enough enough?