Weighty issue: Inequity raised in women's, men's tourneys

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley puts streamers on a trophy after an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia Sunday, March 7, 2021, during the Southeastern Conference tournament final in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley puts streamers on a trophy after an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia Sunday, March 7, 2021, during the Southeastern Conference tournament final in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The teams had barely landed in Texas when complaints of inequity between the women’s and men’s tournaments roared over social media posts noting the women’s weight training facilities in San Antonio were severely lacking compared to what the men have in Indianapolis. The women's field has 64 teams and the men's tournament 68.

In a Twitter post, Stanford sports performance coach for women’s basketball Ali Kershner posted a photo of a single stack of weights next to a training table with sanitized yoga mats, comparing it to pictures of massive facilities for the men with stacks of free weights, dumbbells and squat racks.

“These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities,” Kershner tweeted. “In a year defined by a fight for equality, this is a chance to have a conversation and get better.”

Several of the top women's basketball players see it as a bigger issue than just a subpar weight room.

“We are all grateful to be here and it took a lot of effort for them to put this all together,” UConn freshman All-American Paige Bueckers said on an AP Twitter chat Thursday night. “It’s more of a principle thing. It’s not just a weight room that’s a problem. It’s the inequality of the weight rooms that’s the problem. There’s another tweet going around with the swag bag. It’s not just the weight room. It’s the inequalities and the better stuff the men get.”

South Carolina star Aliyah Boston agreed with Bueckers about the inequities.

“The men have everything in that weight room and we have yoga mats,” she said. “What are we supposed to do that. The bags, I’m glad we got a body wash, but they got a whole store.”

The current players got a lot of support from several top former college and current WNBA players who quickly tweeted support for the women and criticism of the NCAA.