Pictures have been circulating on social media of the conditions at the NCAA Women’s Tournament in San Antonio. Specifically, the conditions of the weight rooms for teams. There were no weights or cardio machines for athletes to maintain their physical ability to compete in the highest level of women’s college basketball. There were simply a bench and a paltry rack of dumbbells. The conditions of the weight rooms were, when compared to what the men’s athletes received in Indianapolis, abhorrent.
Men’s weight room and women’s weight room at the NCAA tournament. Wow NCAA you have to do better!! pic.twitter.com/wudN7GEdFy— Matt Houser (@CoachHouser) March 18, 2021
It led to much backlash from coaches, school administrators, women’s college basketball personalities, and fans of the schools and the sport. This was just a microcosm of the general inequality experienced by men and women in sports.
@NCAA Our teammates have worked quickly to get truckloads of fitness equipment ready to send to the women’s @ncaawbb @marchmadness bubble – we are standing by to deliver it and have your facility outfitted within hours! Let’s make this happen. pic.twitter.com/6QJJjrrDgx— DICK'S Sporting Goods (@DICKS) March 19, 2021
The outcry led to Dick’s Sporting Goods upgrading the facilities for the women. It was nice to see. However, this has not, and should not, appease any of the parties above.
It did not appease Louisville Women’s Head Coach Jeff Walz. Coach Walz released a statement this morning railing against the inequality experienced by women’s college basketball athletes and women’s athletes in general. He described how UofL has invested and truly made women’s athletics a priority, but that the situation at our beloved university is not the norm around the country. He decried this vehemently and demanded change.
He’s been one of many coaches, former coaches, school administrators, and personalities to speak out. He likely won’t be, nor should be, the last. Women’s athletes put in the work for a sport they love. They are human beings that deserve equal treatment whether it’s on a soccer field, a volleyball court, or a basketball court. It’s nice to see Coach Walz speak out as a high profile coach at a premiere women’s program. Everything he said was spot on. Hopefully, those in power will listen and help usher in an era of equality for men’s and women’s college athletes. Hopefully, that will spill over into professional athletics as well.
To read Coach Walz’s full statement, check out the tweet below: