Texas Longhorns crowd in the second half against the UCLA Bruins in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Alamodome on March 24, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.
Carmen Mandato | Getty Images
The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s treatment of the women’s basketball tournament has received more political attention.
Led by U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill, DN.J., 36 congressmen wrote to NCAA President Mark Emmert for responses to last week’s weight room differences in San Antonio, home of the Women’s Division I basketball tournament receive.
Officials claim the NCAA has “vast differences in conditioning equipment, food, advertising and marketing, and even the use of less accurate Covid tests” around the women’s event. The letter calls on the NCAA to honor Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in federally funded educational institutions.
“The players in the women’s and men’s teams were not treated equally by the NCAA,” the letter said. “Such measures are deeply worrying and reflect the NCAA’s lack of commitment to the spirit of Title IX of ensuring a level playing field for women in athletics, which is funded with federal funding. Although at least some of these violations have been corrected, the NCAA clearly disregarded because women cannot be tolerated. “
The NCAA announced Thursday that it is “evaluating the current and previous resource allocation for each championship so that we can have a clear understanding of costs, expenses, and revenues.” It also states that “all championships in all three divisions will be examined to identify other gaps that need to be filled, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in order to achieve gender equality”.
Aaliyah Edwards # 3 of the UConn Huskies is set to face Emily Engstler # 21 and Digna Strautmane # 45 of Syracuse Orange # 45 of Syracuse Orange in the first half of the second round game of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Alamodome on March 23, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.
Carmen Mandato | Getty Images
The NCAA faced a backlash when Oregon player Sedona Prince posted a video on social media on March 18 showing the differences between the men’s and women’s weight room.
The organization initially claimed that the Indianapolis men’s tournament had more space for their weight room than the women’s. Prince’s video caught viral attention when it showed more than enough space to emulate the male version.
Coaches such as Dawn Staley of South Carolina and Geno Auriemma of Connecticut also expressed disappointment with the NCAA, which raised the issue on social media after the firestorm.
The NCAA apologized for the incident and urged Emmert to respond, “This shouldn’t have happened and if there is ever another tournament like this it will ever happen again,” he said of NPR.
Still, members of Congress would like more details on the differences between the men’s and women’s tournaments and urge the NCAA to respond to questions including the status of an investigation, procedures to avoid inequality, and when the organization first asked the incident became aware of San Antonio.
The letter asked the NCAA to respond by April 2nd.
Read the full letter here.