By: Danielle Rapsas
For decades, March Madness has been about watching and betting on favored college basketball teams. In 2021, the focus has changed. Sedona Prince, a female player for the Oregon Ducks and famous TikTok creator, spoke out against the tournament and the resources the female athletes were being provided. Prince used her platform of over 700,000 fans on TikTok to speak out about the inequalities that the women’s teams were experiencing during this NCAA tournament. There is a wave of female empowerment and equality as many injustices have occurred throughout the past few months, and speaking out about March Madness is no exception.
Sedona Prince posted a video exposing the men’s versus women’s weight room, and there was a clear discrepancy, ultimately leading to the content becoming viral. The University of Oregon player urged the NCAA to add real weights and equipment for the women to be able to use. This video got over one million views. NBA and WNBA players chimed in as well and spoke up for the women’s teams and the injustices they were experiencing. Her video simply highlighted the differences between the men’s and women’s resources. In her video, Sedona Prince showed two large rooms, one with an abundance of gym equipment–the men’s weight room– and another greatly lacking gym equipment–the women’s. The video showed only a small weight-rack of dumbells for the entire women’s program. She then showed how the men had access to many weight sets and machinery. Shortly after, the NCAA spoke out and claimed that there was not enough space for the women to get more equipment.
Beyond unequal equipment, the male and female teams did not get the same “swag bags” and cuisine options, which the internet has been criticizing. The men’s teams are eating an abundance of high-end food while the women’s teams were fed suspicious-looking, low-quality meals. They also were not given nearly as much merchandise from the tournament as the men were. This is simply another discrepancy women are facing. Sedona Prince may have been the first influencer to speak out about the frustrating issue, but she was certainly not the last to do so.
The plethora of equipment the men have access to and the lack of equipment for the women is not only disgraceful and unjust, but also a violation of law. Under the Title IX regulations, there must be equal treatment of the female and male student-athletes. This includes equipment and supplies. Clearly, the NCAA has not followed these rules.
Speaking out about the discrepancies female athletes have endured during the famous NCAA March Madness tournament has brought more attention to females in sports. More teams and businesses have spoken out about discrepancies, trying to level the playing field. This movement started with Sedona Prince, #32 on the women’s University of Oregon basketball team. After speaking out about the unequal opportunities female athletes were receiving from the tournament and NCAA, the NCAA then provided an equal weightroom to the female athletes, something they should have received from the beginning.