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NCAA Committee Asks for Investigation Into Unequal Accommodations at Women's Tournament

The NCAA's Committee on Women's Athletics sent president Mark Emmert a letter asking the league to investigate the unequal training accommodations at the women's March Madness tournament in San Antonio.

The letter, sent by committee chair Suzette McQueen, addressed how the women's programs had less access to weight rooms and equipment than the men's teams received at their respective NCAA tournaments.

"I write to express the committee's shock and disappointment over the disparate treatment in the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament and the inequitable availability of strength training facilities. This appears to extend to limited food options and other tournament amenities," the letter said.

"It undermines the NCAA's authority as a proponent and guarantor of Title IX protections, and it sets women's college athletics back across the country."

In response to public complaints from several team's performance coaches and WNBA players about the unequal accommodations, an NCAA representative told The Washington Post's Molly Hensley-Clancy on Thursday 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.

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"We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment," NCAA vice president 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 for some coaches and players. Will Abrams, the director of player development for the Rutgers women's team, tweeted a video of 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 pointed 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!"