Iowa women’s basketball frustrated by facility disparities

After backlash from women’s basketball players, the NCAA upgraded the women’s basketball weight rooms in San Antonio.


Kate Heston

The Univeristy of Iowa women’s basketball team meets before a second round game of the Big 10 women’s basketball tournament. Iowa, ranked #6, took on #11 Purdue in Indianapolis at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse Wednesday night. The Hawkeyes beat the Boilermakers, 83-72, advancing the Hawks to take on Rutgers Thursday night in the Big 10 quarterfinals.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

SAN ANTONIO – Ahead of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament, the NCAA received backlash by women’s basketball players and coaches for disparities between weight rooms constructed for the men’s teams and the women’s teams.

In Indianapolis, where the men’s basketball tournament is based, each team received a weight room that featured a flurry of dumbbells, squat racks, and other workout equipment.

The women’s teams, which are in San Antonio, received a rack of dumbbells up to 30 pounds and yoga mats.

There were also noticeable discrepancies in the quality of food and the merchandise compared to the men’s tournament.

After women’s basketball players spoke out about the difference in weight rooms, the NCAA acknowledged the lackluster weights and pledged to upgrade the equipment.

“We have intentionally organized basketball under one umbrella [at the NCAA] to ensure consistency and collaboration,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president of basketball, in a release. “When we fall short on those expectations, it’s on me. I apologize to the women’s basketball student-athletes, coaches, and the women’s basketball committee for dropping the ball on the weight rooms in San Antonio.”

As of Saturday morning, the women’s basketball team’s weight rooms were upgraded with additional dumbbells, racks, and cardio equipment.

As an athlete that has experienced the weight room firsthand, junior center Monika Czinano appreciates the women’s players who have spoken out about the disparities.

“I’m just really, really proud of the women athletes I’ve seen,” Czinano said. “And the coaches, and just women in general who have been stepping forward to talk about it… I’m just hoping that the more and more recognition that gets brought to it, the more the nation will see that stuff like that really isn’t OK.”

Despite the lackluster facilities, the Hawkeyes have been staying in shape. Czinano mentioned the team’s strength and conditioning coach, Lindsay Alexander, has been good at getting creative in workouts for the team.

For Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder, it was more of the same.

“Some of those things that you see between the men’s and the women’s tournaments, it’s like ‘Here we go again’” Bluder said. “It gets frustrating. It gets very frustrating.

“As women leaders, we have to make sure that all teams are treated the same and treated well in these situations. And a lot of people are using their voices, and again as female leaders, that’s what we’re encouraging. We want our women to use their platforms and speak out for when things are not right, because for too long, too many people didn’t speak out when something was wrong.”

Bluder isn’t optimistic the brief attention will create significant change for women’s basketball. But it’s a start.

“I guess I’ve been around the game long enough to know it takes more than a little bit of media attention, for 24 to 48 hours, to make change,” Bluder said. “I hope it makes a difference, and it needs to… it’s a generation of women right now that are determined to make a change.”

Fifth-seeded Iowa kicks off the NCAA Tournament Sunday morning at 11 a.m. against No. 12 seed Central Michigan at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The game will air on ESPN.

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