SAN ANTONIO (KXAN) — With the start of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament just a couple days away, the focus should be on brackets, the upcoming games and figuring out who will win.
Instead, a Thursday night tweet from a former Texas Longhorns player changed the conversation and sparked criticism about the discrepancies between the women’s facilities in San Antonio and the men’s facilities in Indianapolis.
“For the NCAA March Madness, the biggest tournament in college basketball for women, this is our weight room,” Oregon forward Sedona Prince said in a viral TikTok video she also posted to Twitter.
Prince’s video shows a meager women’s weight room with a rack of 12 dumbbells.
She goes on to show a video of the men’s weight room from the Indianapolis “bubble.” The men have an expansive area with free weights and squat racks.
Prince closed out the video saying — “If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you are apart of it.”
Prince went to Liberty Hill and originally played for Texas before transferring to Oregon. Her video’s been viewed over nine million times on Twitter, and has been retweeted by ESPN, Steph Curry and over 133,000 others.
Prince and the Ducks, as well as the the Longhorns and 62 other teams in the tournament are all in San Antonio for the women’s “bubble”. Because of posts from Prince and other people at the tournament, Texas wasn’t caught off guard by the facilities.
“I guess we all were on Twitter, we all saw what it was,” Joanne Allen-Taylor said Friday. “To me, personally, it wasn’t really, just really surprising. We all got a look at it, so we just have to focus on what we can control at the end of the day.”
Both she and Celeste Taylor are trying to instead stay locked in on their opener against Bradley on Monday, while the rest of the country locks in on the inequities of the women’s setup compared to the men’s.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think we were that focused on it,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t that surprising. We just got to keep moving forward.”
On Thursday, the NCAA women’s basketball official Twitter account tweeted a statement as pictures started to circulate of the facilities in San Antonio.
“We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment,” NCAA vice president of women’s basketball Lynn Holzman’s said in the statement. “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.”
The end of Prince’s video points out the contradiction in Holzman’s statement when she shows how much extra space is available to be used around the practice gym and dumbbell rack.
“I guess we’re just not really focused on that,” Allen-Taylor said. “I think we’re just getting ready for our game, getting ready to play Bradley. To me, personally, it hasn’t really affected me.”
“We just adjusted to what we have,” Taylor added. “We take what we’re given and we’re thankful, and we’re just gonna go about what we have to do, and that’s focusing on winning our first game.”