Meeks: NCAA continuing the cycle of inequity between men’s and women’s hoops

NBA and WNBA players have spoken out about the NCAA's treatment towards their women athletes compared to the men athletes.

NCAA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

NBA and WNBA players have spoken out about the NCAA’s treatment towards their women athletes compared to the men athletes.

Madison Meeks

Women’s basketball has always seemed to catch the short end of the stick. 

This is seen with the WNBA-NBA viewer disparity— which ultimately affects the vast difference in salaries. Even collegiate women’s basketball sees a significantly smaller crowd in the stands– besides those big-name schools such as Stanford, UConn and Tennessee. 

Many people argue it’s because the women’s side isn’t as efficient with scoring as the men’s side, and that’s false. According to, Maryland women’s basketball leads the women’s league by averaging 91.5 points per game (PPG), and Gonzaga men’s leads their sector by averaging 92.1 PPG. Iowa women’s basketball comes second in the league with averaging 86.6 PPG, which is 1.4 PPG more than Colgate’s men who come second on the men’s side for PPG. 

In the age of social awareness, one would think during covid-19, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) would attempt to even out the playing field for all athletes and reward them all with amazing perks (weight rooms, merch bags, etc.) in the NCAA Tournament for their hard work during the regular season. This has sadly not been the case. 

On March 19, 2021, one of Oregon’s women’s players, Sedona Prince, took to TikTok to reveal the disparity in weight rooms between the men and women in the NCAA Tournament. She addressed the statement the NCAA made about the issue while further debunking their rationale. On another occasion, the difference of the “swag bags” for the women and men were made public. This sparked outrage amongst several players, coaches, people and businesses– and me. 

After this act of blatant inequality was publicized, several companies such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Tonal and Orange Theory offered to help the female athletes have the weight room they deserve. 


Why is it that outside companies have to do the NCAA’s job in ensuring equal opportunities and resources for its athletes?

Oregon’s Sedona Prince says, “If you aren’t upset about the problem, then you’re a part of it” via TikTok. 


Once again, women have to take to social media to fight for rights and privileges that should be automatically provided. Furthermore, if one actually took a look at the original weight room for the women, the maximum weight for the dumbbells looked to be around 25 pounds. 


What is the NCAA trying to imply? 

UConn’s Christyn Williams says, “I’m calling out the NCAA. There’s no excuse for that. It’s unacceptable and they need to do better. I mean, what are we going to do with five-pound dumbbells?”


These women are far from “damsels in distress” and “weak women.” I don’t believe women who do squats using 25 pound dumbbells would be able to go off for 32 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists (Jordan Lewis, NC State); 35 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists (Caitlin Clark, Iowa); or 28 points and 5 rebounds (Paisley Harding, BYU) in the NCAA Tournament

News flash to the NCAA, your women’s players deserve better than a couple of dumbbells that one would provide for a little league team– and little league would deserve better than that. 

It’s hard to even imagine that the NCAA would even pull a stunt like this when the regular season showed much success for players during the regular season with stat lines such as 50 points and 16 rebounds (Naz Hillmon, Michigan); 32 points and 7 assists (Paige Bueckers, UConn); and 37 points on 4-for-5 3PT attempts (Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas). 

Along with the vast differences in weight rooms and “swag bags,” discrepancies in covid-19 testing have also been publicized. According to, the men’s tournament relies on PCR COVID testing– which is more reliable, whereas the women’s tournament is using antigen testing– with PCR testing as a backup. Antigen testing is known to be more likely to give false results than a PCR test, so not only is the NCAA willingly providing the women with second-best healthcare, they could be possibly putting female hoopers at risk. 

This entire situation further proves the idea that women have to fight harder and practically scream in order to have the same rights and privileges as men. It’s a shame to know women have to go out and battle on the court then battle again to have equal rights off the court. 


What is the NCAA saying to female athletes not only in college– but everywhere?

Kyrie Irving, NBA player, via Instagram: “Soooooo @ncaa This is how y’all are doing our Queens???!!! We can’t tolerate this! They deserve more!” 


Clearly, the NCAA is telling all female athletes they deserve– and will receive– second-rate treatment, perks and amenities no matter how well they perform during the regular season and in tournament play. Not only are they perpetuating the occurrence of gender inequity in sports, they are also comfortable with their actions by using locations and “spacing” as excuses. 

As a female who previously played basketball in her earlier high school days, I am highly disappointed in the NCAA. 

Female hoopers deserve more than a subpar weight room and a “swag bag” with a scrunchie in it. They deserve the best when it comes to covid testing. They deserve to be rewarded for their performance as athletes while being treated as equal to their male counterparts. 

To the NCAA: Make your female hoopers– and athletes– know you value them and see them as equals. Yes, you’ve apologized, but it shouldn’t take all of this for you to ensure an equitable experience. Do better.