Dancing to Two Different Tunes: Extreme Inequality For Male and Female Athletes During March Madness

As March Madness comes to a close, it is important to remember the fight that female athletes raised in order to be recognized alongside their male counterparts this year.


University of Oregon Women's Basketball

Sedona Prince is the 6’7″ Oregon forward who is leading the fight for equity in women’s basketball.

This year has been a trying time for many student athletes as the Coronavirus pandemic has continued to rage on. For those playing Division I college basketball, their seasons were hit particularly hard. Forced to quarantine away from their families for long periods of time, players were told that it was all going to be worth it as soon as they made it to March 2021. If they made it through the regular season with a sufficiently winning record, they would be entered into one of the biggest sports events in the nation, March Madness. 

Every year, March Madness brings in hundreds of thousands of viewers from across the country, making it one of the most-viewed events, as well as one of the most lucrative. Of the $1.1 billion the NCAA made during the 2019 fiscal year, March Madness brought in $867.5 million, or around 79%. Not only is it incredibly profitable for the NCAA, but it also provides exposure for players seeking to declare for their respective drafts. 

However, there was a stark contrast between player amenities. When the male athletes were released from their mandatory quarantine and allowed to go into the practice spaces that the NCAA has set up, they were given a large weight room with many different types of equipment and expansive practice courts. Conversely, when the women were released from their quarantine, they found themselves looking at a “weight room” that only consisted of a singular set of dumbbells, ranging from ten to thirty pounds, and a few yoga mats. 

Unfortunately, these were not the only unjust differences. The women were given cheap, unhealthy food, such as badly cooked Salisbury steak and lukewarm limp vegetables, whereas the men were given hot, healthy meals, perfect for fueling their bodies to play their best game. Not only that, but the swag bags given to every athlete were extremely different for the men and the women. 

When asked about the weight rooms, specifically, the NCAA stated that the women’s lack of gym equipment was a result of spatial constraints. However, a video made by Sedona Prince, a redshirt sophomore at the University of Oregon, went viral on TikTok showing that this was a blatant lie. Many NBA players and prominent celebrities spoke out about it on Twitter and other social media sites, pressuring the NCAA to fix the weight room situation. While it is great that the issue was rectified, it is truly jarring to realize the extreme amount of sexism that still exists in athletics.

“If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you’re a part of it,” said Sedona Prince, a redshirt sophomore at the University of Oregon.



The men’s NCAA tournament swag bag. (@overtimewbb on Instagram)
The women’s NCAA tournament swag bag. (@overtimewbb on Instagram)
An example of a meal for the male basketball players. (@overtimewbb on Instagram)
An example of a meal for the female basketball players. (@overtimewbb on Instagram)