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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.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Mar 29, 2021 - Sports

Eight of the 10 most-followed NCAA Elite 8 basketball players are women

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Impending legislation will allow student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness (NIL) through sponsored social media posts and other means.

Why it matters: If athletes had full control of their NIL rights, the top women's basketball players in this year's Elite Eight would have greater earning power than the top men.

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Third Way: "Big Lie" could become "Big Coup"

Graphic: Third Way

Third Way, the center-left think tank, is urging fellow Democrats to respond to the Capitol riot with "the size, scope, and seriousness of a presidential campaign," co-founder Matt Bennett tells me.

Driving the news: "For the first time in U.S. history, a party must mount two parallel presidential campaigns: one to win the election, and the other to prevent its theft," Bennett said, calling this "a Paul Revere moment."