Gonzaga players react to inequity between men and women’s NCAA bubbles

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SPOKANE, Wash. — March Madness has started, and Gonzaga is fighting for the title. Beyond the court, the female athletes are dealing with a different tournament bubble in San Antonio than the men in Indianapolis.

Players called out the NCAA for what some say is a lack of respect. They’re talking about a clear sign of inequity. Below, the men’s weight room is on the left. On the right, the women were given 10 weights to use in a small space along with some mats and a training table.

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“There kinda is no reason for that disparity between the men and women’s side,” said Jill Townsend, guard for Gonzaga. “We deserve our health and mental health to be taken just as seriously as the men so I mean, it is kinda disappointing when you see that stuff like that.”

University of Oregon basketball player Sedona Prince posted several Tik Tok videos showing the difference in weight rooms and the food the women were served. One Gonzaga player said the men get an outdoor field to play games, while the women only have time outside when they’re walking to get a COVID-19 test.

“It’s bittersweet that it had to come to the point where the NCAA had to get called out by players and to do better,” Townsend said. “From a health standpoint, a good weight room is kinda essential to us.”

Gonzaga forward Jenn Wirth said the weights are split up between 16 girls. She told reporters in a press conference on Friday that she’s pleased to see both men and women speaking out about this issue.

Gonzaga

“I think that it’s super important that men and women are kinda drawing attention to it, because I think if it’s only coming from the women’s side the people who don’t really have respect for women’s sports aren’t going to care,” Wirth said.

NBA and WNBA players like Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving and A’ja Wilson have either commented or retweeted about the inequity.

The NCAA released two statements on Friday regarding the disparity.

Head Coach List Fortier said a lot of the athletes just want to get treated with a little more thought.

“We try to focus on gratitude while at the same time fighting for what is right,” she said.

Companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods stepped up and said it’s ready to deliver truckloads of equipment to the women.

Gonzaga is supposed to have a lift session on Saturday, and Wirth said she hopes the facility looks “a little bit different.”

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