AP: Weighty Issue in San Antonio

Ignatius L Hoops

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Paige Bueckers addresses concerns; NCAA responds.

SAN ANTONIO — The teams had barely landed in Texas when complaints of inequity between the women's and men's tournaments roared over social media posts noting the women's weight training facilities in San Antonio were severely lacking compared to what the men have in Indianapolis. The women's field has 64 teams and the men's tournament 68.

In a Twitter post, Stanford sports performance coach for women's basketball Ali Kershner posted a photo of a single stack of weights next to a training table with sanitized yoga mats, comparing it to pictures of massive facilities for the men with stacks of free weights, dumbbells and squat racks.

"These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities," Kershner tweeted. "In a year defined by a fight for equality, this is a chance to have a conversation and get better."

Several of the top women's basketball players see it as a bigger issue than just a subpar weight room.

"We are all grateful to be here and it took a lot of effort for them to put this all together," UConn freshman All-American Paige Bueckers said on an AP Twitter chat Thursday night. "It's more of a principle thing. It's not just a weight room that's a problem. It's the inequality of the weight rooms that's the problem. There's another tweet going around with the swag bag. It's not just the weight room. It's the inequalities and the better stuff the men get."

South Carolina star Aliyah Boston agreed with Bueckers about the inequities.

"The men have everything in that weight room and we have yoga mats," she said. "What are we supposed to do that. The bags, I'm glad we got a body wash, but they got a whole store."

The current players got a lot of support from several top former college and current WNBA players who quickly tweeted support for the women and criticism of the NCAA.

"That NCAA bubble weight room situation is beyond disrespectful," tweeted A'ja Wilson, who led South Carolina to the 2017 national championship and now plays for the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA.

NCAA Senior Vice President of women's basketball Lynn Holzman said the governing body would try to quickly improve the equipment available at the women's tournament. The original setup was limited because of a lack of available space in San Antonio, with plans to expand once the tournament field shrunk in the later rounds.

"We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment. 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," Holzman said. "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."
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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NCAA basketball administrators apologized to the women's basketball players and coaches after inequities between the men's and women's tournament went viral on social media and vowed to do better.

NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt vowed to do better during a zoom call Friday morning, a day after photos showed the difference between the weight rooms at the two tournaments.

"I apologize to the women's student-athletes, coaches and committee for dropping the ball on the weight room issue in San Antonio, we'll get it fixed as soon as possible," Gavitt said.
[...]
In a step to solve the weight room issue, the NCAA modified space in the convention center to turn it into a useable workout facility. That work should be completed Saturday. The NCAA had offered ro put a weight-lifting area in the open space next to the practice courts, but coaches didn't want that because then other teams would be in the vicinity when they were practicing.

"We fell short this year in what we have been doing to prepare in the last 60 days for 64 teams to be in San Antonio. We acknowledge that," said NCAA Senior Vice President of women's basketball Lynn Holzman, who is a former college basketball player. "Last night we did have a call with our coaches and team administrators in a way to solicit feedback and their experience thus far.

"Yesterday was the first day our teams had the opportunity to have practice," she said. "Part of that call was to get feedback on potential solutions to address some of those concerns, including the weight room issue."
 

crazysauce

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What else can everyone be offended by? Also why exactly is there a men's and a womens workout area? Why exactly are they not capable of working out together?
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Today's update:
The NCAA has improved its weight training facilities for the women's basketball tournament in San Antonio with more equipment having been brought into the convention center where the teams practice.

Teams were working out inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on Saturday morning. Besides nine practice courts, there are expanded weight training facilities that now have heavier weights, six squat racks, benches, resistance bands and exercise balls, with everything socially distanced. There also are areas alongside the practice courts with exercise bikes, rowing machines, treadmills, yoga mats and upgraded weight equipment.

[...]

The original plan was to construct a bigger weight room for the Sweet 16 by converting one of the practice courts for that purpose, since fewer courts will be needed at that point of the tournament. The NCAA hasn't explained why the same facilities wouldn't have been in place for all 64 teams, rather than the final 16.

Much of the exercise equipment now being used in San Antonio was already ordered or waiting to be put together by the NCAA for the original Sweet 16 plan. Officials told ESPN that the NCAA did accept offers made via social media from various companies to provide equipment for the women
 

atsgopher

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What else can everyone be offended by? Also why exactly is there a men's and a womens workout area? Why exactly are they not capable of working out together?
The original article I read said the coaches turned down the larger space originally, because it was next to the practice courts.

That was considered a distraction. Which led to the “later expansion” idea, where there could be separated.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Lisa Bluder sez:
By John Bohnenkamp

Lisa Bluder said there are “some really good things” about the NCAA women’s basketball tournament setup in San Antonio.

But the Iowa coach knows that the disparities between what has been made available to the women’s teams as compared to the men’s teams for their tournament in Indianapolis are unacceptable.

“It’s like, ‘Here we go again,’” Bluder said. “It’s frustrating. It’s very frustrating.”

The tournament is being played in one city this season to create a controlled environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But players and coaching staffs from different teams have pointed out the differences in how they’ve been treated compared to the men’s tournament, from weight-training areas to food to even the gift bags players received.

“We want our women to use their voices,” Bluder said. “We want our women to use their platforms. We want them to speak out when things are not right, because for too long, too many people didn’t speak out when it was wrong.”

“Like Coach Bluder said, it’s one of those here-we-go-again situations,” center Monika Czinano said. “I’m just hoping the more and more recognition that gets put to it, the more the entire nation sees the stuff like that isn’t OK.”

Bluder said she and her staff have worked to make the tournament work for their players.

“To me, we’ve made it as good of an experience as we can, and I’m happy with that,” she said. “But I’m really proud of the women who are using their voices to bring attention to this. And I’m proud of the men who are standing behind us, too.

“Some teams are getting treated better than others. Those teams are not sticking up for everyone else. We have to look out for all of the teams, all of the women’s teams. Not just, like, ‘Oh, my team’s being treated OK, so I’m not going to worry about everybody else.’ As women leaders, we have to make sure all teams are treated the same, and treated well in these situations.”

“I think we’ve done the best with what we’ve been given, and we’re having fun,” Czinano said. “We’re in Texas, we made the NCAA tournament, we’re really blessed to be where we are. Seeing (all of the disparities) is definitely discouraging.”

Bluder, who has now taken 15 Iowa teams to the NCAA tournament, said there have been some positives with the tournament setup.

“We got 64 teams to San Antonio,” she said. “We’ve got great courts that we’re practicing on. They’re tremendous. Yeah, there’s been some areas they could have done better. I can’t imagine what they had to navigate to make this happen.”

Past tournament trips have had some fun to them for the Hawkeyes. But sight-seeing, and everything else, is out while the teams are confined to just hotels and practice areas.

“Now, we just kind of have to like each other, because that’s what we’ve got,” Bluder said.

Past tournaments have been held on home courts for the first weekend. Iowa, the 5 seed in a regional, plays 12 seed Central Michigan at 11 a.m. on Sunday. In a past setup, that game would have been played in Lexington, Kentucky, since Kentucky in the No. 4 seed in the bracket.

“I think it’s tremendous that these are being played on neutral courts this year,” Bluder said. “I think that’s a real step forward for our game. We should be playing on neutral courts. Nobody should get to host when you’re playing in a national tournament. So, yeah, it’s great when you’re a top-4 seed, and we’ve been a benefit of that — we probably would have benefitted from it last year if we had an NCAA tournament. This year, we wouldn’t have been — we probably would have been traveling to Kentucky for games. So I’m glad it’s on a neutral court.”

The Hawkeyes will be in the first game of the tournament, which is something Bluder also appreciates. They have been in San Antonio since Wednesday.

“We got down here so early,” Bluder said. “Usually you play on Thursday (after arriving on Wednesday), right? You’re used to playing right away someplace.

“Everybody wants to get out and get ready to play. I’m glad we get to do it right away.”
 
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