UPDATED 3/19, 10:20 p.m. ET: Dick’s Sporting Goods is ready to lend a much-needed hand to the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Days after athletes began sharing photos of the women’s weight-training facilities, the retail giant sent out a tweet announcing it was prepared to send equipment to the women’s March Madness bubble in San Antonio. The tweet included a photo that showed a line of employees standing in front of three U-Haul trucks parked outside a Dick’s Sporting Goods location.
“Our teammates have worked quickly to get truckloads of fitness equipment ready to send to the women’s @ncaawbb @marchmadness bubble,” the tweet read. “We are standing by to deliver it and have your facility outfitted within hours! Let’s make this happen.”
Melissa Christian, vice president of marketing at Dick’s Sporting Goods, told USA Today that the equipment had not been delivered as of Friday evening, as the company is awaiting approval from the NCAA. She confirmed the chain was prepared to send treadmills, stationary bikes, power racks, and more.
“When we first saw it last night, I think the first thing that came to our mind was just knowing how much work these athletes have put in to be at the tournament,” Christian told the outlet. “They definitely deserve to have facilities that would allow them to perform to their best ability on the court.”
See the original story below.
People across social media are calling out the NCAA over disparities between the training facilities of women’s basketball players and the ones assigned to the men’s team during their respective tournaments. The criticism began after photos showing stark contrasts between the two weight rooms began circulating online.
Stanford sports performance coach Ali Kershner brought attention to the differences on Instagram. “In a year defined by a fight for equality this is a chance to have a conversation and get better,” Kershner wrote.
2020 WNBA No. 1 overall pick and New York Liberty player Sabrina Ionescu also shared photos showing the facilities, writing, “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!”
Lynn Holzman, the NCAA’s vice president for women’s basketball, responded to the backlash and partly blamed the disparity on “limited space.”
“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment,” Holzman said on Thursday. “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. 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.”
Ionescu and Oregon Ducks player Sedona Prince caught wind of Holzman’s statement and refuted the claims of “limited space” by providing video evidence showing that there’s plenty of space.
Other NBA players to speak out on the issue included Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, and Ja Morant:
Kyrie Irving calls out the NCAA on the disparities between the men’s and women’s semi-bubbles. pic.twitter.com/SnEfchAnYC— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) March 19, 2021