The NCAA acknowledged Thursday it provided the women's programs with less access weight rooms and equipment than it had the men's teams at their respective March Madness tournaments.
In response to public complaints from the performance coaches from several women's teams and WNBA players about the unequal accommodations, a NCAA rep told The Washington Post's Molly Hensley-Clancy that it didn't think there would be enough space for full weight rooms because the convention center hosting the women's tournament is smaller.
"We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment," NCAA VP Lynn Holzman told the Post in a statement. "In part, this is due to the limited space and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available later in the tournament.
"However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams, and we are actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment."
That explanation wasn't a satisfactory excuse to some coaches and players. Will Abrams, the director of player development for the Rutgers women's team, tweeted a video of what appears to be a large, open gymnasium with the caption, "Not enough space."
While the men's tournament has a full weight room, the women's programs have access to six sets of dumbbells, yoga mats and a single stationary bike until the Sweet 16, according to The Athletic's Chantel Jennings.
Teams that advance to the Sweet 16 will have access to more workout equipment than they do now, though as Jennings points out, it'll still be less than what the men's teams have in their weight room.
Several WNBA players reacted to the unequal accommodations. Liberty's Sabrina Ionescu tweeted, "Women’s @NCAA bubble weight room vs Men’s weight room... thought this was a joke. WTF is this?!? To all the women playing in the @marchmadness tournament, keep grinding!"
Media members even called out the NCAA. Jay Bilas responded to Mystics' Alysha Clark, saying, "Wow. Not acceptable," while Jemele Hill posted a screenshot of the $500 million deal ESPN and the NCAA agreed to that included broadcasting the women's tournament.