2021 March Madness tournament demonstrates inequality

Through continued unequal opportunities in sports, the March Madness basketball tournaments hosted by the NCAA brings another reason for women in sports to fly under the radar. The inequality demonstrated in the bubbles are causing outrage in the basketball community and beyond.


**Close call…***Fighting for the ball, Stanford guard Haley Jones (30) and Arizona forward Cate Reese (25) try to make the winning basket. With a score of 54-53, Stanford comes out on top as the March Madness champion. Photo by AP images photographer Eric Gay.*

With the start of this year’s women’s March Madness basketball tournament came the beginning of an equality fight between men’s and women’s sports.
“It feels like that should’ve happened 20 years ago and not today,” senior Hayley Fenchel said.
Fenchel, a member of the girls basketball team, is referring to the weight room that the women’s teams walked into on the first day of March Madness. With only a set of dumbbells and a few yoga mats, the basketball players took to social media to show their outrage.
“On one hand I was not surprised at all, but on the other hand I was shocked at the thoughtlessness of the NCAA,” Souderton girls basketball coach Lynn Carroll said.
Tik Tok star and Oregon Ducks forward Sedona Prince, posted a video on Tik Tok that showed the empty gym, which went viral along with hundreds of other videos, tweets and photographs.
“It was interesting to see how the men’s side has so much weight room and in all honesty such better gyms rather than the women’s,” senior Jordan Zimmerman said. Jordan is also a member of the girls basketball team.
The men’s weight room was filled with expensive equipment and proper weights in order for the teams to continue their conditioning whilst playing in the tournament. NCAA provided this weight room to the men along with costly gift bags and lavish meals according to NPR.
“I probably would have just laughed and said, ‘Figures,’” if I walked into the weight room,” Owen J. Roberts basketball player Brooke Greenwald said.
Along with being surprised, Fenchel said she feels offended because girls lift a lot and they need to build their muscle groups, too.
“We’ve come a long way since the days of Kathrine Switzer and Billie Jean King but there is still so much work to be done,” Carrol said.
The weight room was what initially sparked the outrage, but as that unfolded more discrepancies began to show.
The food that the men’s team received was made by professional chefs and was in a buffet style with plenty of food to nourish the players according to NPR. The women’s team were met with small servings of unappetizing meals.
As the news broke, NCAA was quick to try and cover their tracks by saying that Dick’s Sporting Goods hadn’t created the women’s gym yet even though the tournament had started, according to Zimmerman.
The men’s gym was completed and had been done prior to the event. According to Zimmerman, it did not make sense why the men’s weight room was there but the women’s was not.
Carroll describes her experience with inequality between men’s and women’s sports as not extreme. From her experience, officials in leadership positions have been “very supportive of female athletics.”
However, there have been times when differences are evident. “The Men’s PIAA District One semi finals are often played at a college arena while the girls games will be played at a local high school,” Carroll said.
Attendance at female sporting events are the most noticeable differences, according to Fenchel.
The coverage on men’s basketball exceeds the coverage on women’s basketball no matter if the men’s team is doing better or worse, according to Zimmerman.
“It’s not just sports. I see a lot of things involving inequality. At this point, I have this ‘over it’ mentality,” Greenwald said.