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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An NCAA spokesperson acknowledged the stark differences in amenities offered to male and female basketball players at March Madness, such as weight rooms and meals, attributing the disparity to "limited space."

Driving the news: Female players and fans took to social media to expose the stark contrast between the facilities provided to them and the elaborate facilities provided to their male counterparts.

  • The men's national tournament started on Thursday and the women's tip-off is set for Sunday.

The most notable example was the large weight training facilities in the men's space compared to a small weight rack for the women.

  • Welcome packages and meal quality were also criticized when compared to the men's tournament.

What the players are saying: A photo of the women's weight room and the men's weight room tweeted by star Oregon player Sabrina Ionescu went viral.

  • "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!" Ionescu tweeted.

What the NCAA is saying: "We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment," said Lynn Holzman, NCAA Vice President of Women's Basketball, in a statement posted on Twitter. "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 the association is "actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment."

Go deeper

Biden admin grants Colonial waiver to ease fuel shortages

Fuel tanks at Colonial Pipeline Baltimore Delivery in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration approved a temporary waiver of shipping requirements late Wednesday to help Colonial Pipeline transport fuel, as service resumes across the U.S. following a ransomware attack that that took it offline last week.

Why it matters: The century-old Jones Act requires ships to be built in the U.S. and crewed by American workers, but the waiver means foreign companies can transport gasoline and diesel to areas where there are fuel shortages.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Gaza on May 13, 2021. Israeli forces said on May 12 they had killed a senior Hamas commander and bombed several buildings. Gaza's health ministry has said children are among the dead. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 continued into early Thursday. It come days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Don McGahn agrees to closed-door interview with House panel on Russia report

Former White House counsel Don McGahn during a discussion at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., in 2019. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former White House counsel Don McGahn agreed Wednesday to speak with the House Judiciary Committee about former President Trump's alleged attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation — with certain conditions, per a court filing.

Why it matters: The agreement ends a two-year standoff after McGahn, a key player in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, repeatedly refused to agree to a subpoena for testimony — resulting in the matter being taken to court.