Mar 29, 2021 - Sports

Senators blast NCAA for treatment of women's basketball teams

women's basketball
Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in a letter on Monday admonished the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for their unequal treatment of men's and women's basketball teams during this month's March Madness tournaments.

Catch up quick: Women's collegiate basketball teams were given a fraction of the resources during their March Madness tournament that the men's teams were provided, including unequal access to workout equipment and the availability of quality COVID-19 tests.

  • The NCAA originally said the women's facilities did not have enough space for more workout equipment. After a social media uproar, the NCAA corrected the weight room situation.

Yes, but: The senators say differences in COVID-19 tests made available to men and women athletes are in need of further attention.

  • "[I]t is the NCAA’s decision to provide only the men’s tournament with the 'gold standard' of COVID-19 tests that defies explanation and common sense," the senators wrote to NCAA president Mark Emmert.
  • "According to the coach of the eleven-time national champion UConn Huskies women's basketball team, while men have been using the more accurate PCR testing method, women have instead received the cheaper antigen tests, which are less sensitive and therefore can be less accurate."
  • "It is indefensible that the NCAA would not set the same standards for both tournaments. We ask that you take immediate action to rectify this inequity."

Their bottom line: "You must end this inexcusable pattern of inequities and neglect, and be transparent with these stellar women athletes about the steps you will take to ensure they have the same opportunities and support as their male counterparts," the pair wrote.

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