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Local athlete 'shocked' by disparity in women's equipment, facilities at NCAA tournament

The NCAA has apologized for the error
Posted at 8:26 AM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-20 08:26:12-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The NCAA has now apologized for a disparity in equipment and facilities for the women's basketball teams compared to the men's teams at the March Madness tournament.

The issue was brought up by athletes on social media this week, before the apology was issued with the NCAA providing more equipment and other necessities to the women's teams competing in San Antonio.

The videos uploaded to TikTok and Twitter received instant backlash, with athletes expressing their shock.

Grand Valley State guard Brooke McKinley says she didn't think the video was real when she first came across it.

"Honestly, I didn't think it was real; like I was looking at it, and I just thought it was kind of crazy to think that it could be that much of a difference between the men's tournament and the women’s," said McKinley, who says she has used better equipment in hotel training rooms compared to the one offered to the women's teams at the March Madness tournament.

The NCAA originally cited that they didn't have enough space, but the videos surfaced showing entire areas next to the dumbbells provided as entirely unused.

"It’s disheartening, and I feel like women deserve better," said McKinley.

The videos on social media caught the attention of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who also serves as the chair of the Task Force on Women in Sports in Michigan. Benson called the disparity "egregious" but not "surprising" to those involved in the sports world.

Secretary Benson says the reason why the task force was launched was to prevent gender opportunity gaps such as this one.

"Our goal is to recommend a series of policies and investments and incentives that the governor can promote, to create more pathways for women in sports, as leaders, as athletes and as advocates for equality," said Benson.

Secretary Benson is currently working on presenting recommendations to Governor Whitmer to improve sports for women in the state. Those recommendations will be drafted within the next year or so.

The March Madness tournament is still underway in San Antonio. The NCAA has since issued a statement in part saying, "We fell short this year in what we’ve been doing to prepare in the past 60 days for 64 teams to be here in San Antonio.”