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NCAA misses the shot for women

The NCAA has recently been under fire for the facilities given to female athletes during the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament. Images of the weight room provided for the female athletes compared to the weight room for the men’s side of the tournament swirled around social media. 

Title IX, a civil rights law that was established to prohibit sex-based discrimination, does not require that the programs for men are the same for women. Rather, Title IX ensures that there are sufficient programs for both sexes. Unfortunately, this means that women’s programs often go underfunded. 

The NCAA argued that the differences between weight rooms was due to a spacing issue and was not due to financials. This argument, however, was quickly debunked by several NCAA Division I women’s basketball players. Players included Sedona Prince, a member of the Oregon Women’s basketball team, who posted several TikTok videos describing the situation. 

Even though Title IX was a big will for women in sports, there are still loopholes that are being used to treat women athletes differently. Cassidy Darin, a senior on the women’s basketball team at St. Ambrose, understands the importance of creating equal opportunities for both men and women in sports. 

Barney the Bee displayed proudly on the mats inside the Lee Lohman arena. Photo courtesy of Allisyn Blaser.

“When I saw it at first I was like ‘seriously that is ridiculous.’ After I had really thought about it I was not too surprised. My first university was a D3 school and playing basketball there I knew the differences between what the men got and what the women got. So, when I saw the pictures of the weight room at the tournament I was upset,” Darin says. 

The differences in equipment provided for student athletes not only affects large schools but small schools as well. The Men’s NCAA basketball tournament brings in more money than the women’s tournament, but money was not said to be the issue. 

“I think women’s basketball does not get the respect it deserves. Having played the sport since I was really young, most men downplay the sport and say it is not as entertaining, but that is simply not true. The scandal definitely made me feel like the NCAA as a whole does not appreciate student-athletes, especially women student-athletes. I am glad that the public is aware of some of the discrepancies between men and women’s sports,” Darin says. 

A banner displayed in the Lee Lohman arena showcasing the men and women’s basketball programs at St. Ambrose. Photo courtesy of Allisyn Blaser.

Darin is not the only athlete at St. Ambrose who was disappointed with the NCAA over this scandal. Anna Plumer, a sophomore on the women’s basketball team at St. Ambrose, also has a few opinions on the matter. 

“Overall, I feel as though the support of female athletes can improve greatly. It takes dedication and work ethic to become the best athletes. By promoting the tournament and making the women feel equally important in their accomplishments would be a great improvement. In today’s society, social media will be used to show what each tournament entails. By creating a more equal environment between the two, we should be able to better improve the player’s experiences,” Plumer says. 

Even with Title IX in place to stop discrimination among the sexes in sports, there are still drastic differences in the programs being offered. With the implementation of social media, the NCAA and other organizations will be held to a higher standard.