Disparity between men’s and women’s basketball tournament budgets draws controversy

Courtesy of Ali Kershner

This article was published on The Daily Aztec website on March 30, 2021.

The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were unorthodox this year, as news of the dramatically different accommodations for men and women leaked through social media. 

Videos of the women’s gym which was complete with one set of small dumbbells and some yoga mats rocked the nation because the men’s gym was complete with squat racks, bench racks and any other exercise equipment one might need to compete in the tournament. 

All eyes were on the NCAA when they admitted to allocating a budget for the men’s basketball teams that was double that of the women’s teams, according to ESPN.

Nights after the women’s teams made the news, the women were accommodated with more equipment, even though the NCAA originally claimed there was not enough space for such equipment. 

San Diego State women’s basketball junior guard Sophia Ramos has friends currently playing in the NCAA Tournament. She said she found out about the accommodations via social media. 

“I was disappointed… and shocked were for sure the two feelings I had in regards to it,” Ramos said. “Especially knowing I had a lot of friends playing in the tournament, knowing they had to go through all the differences and just being able to actually see it as well.”

Ramos said it was disappointing to see what the women were provided in the biggest tournament for college athletes. 

“I’m glad that there was some change being made for sure. I think that it shows that our voices are pretty powerful,” Ramos said. 

Images surfaced of the upgrades provided to the women after their demands reached several news outlets. 

Oregon women’s basketball sophomore center Sedona Prince kept the public updated through her viral TikTok videos. which provided an inside look at the NCAA Tournament during the pandemic. 

“I still don’t think it was anything compared to what the men have,” Ramos said. “I think it was even more disappointing that that was what they were supposed to get for the Sweet 16 as opposed to just starting with it.”

Ramos said it was disappointing to learn but not surprising that the budgets for the men’s teams are almost twice that of the women’s.

“I don’t think that caught a lot by surprise because I think everyone is just going to go back to the same thing as, ‘Oh the men bring in a higher revenue,’” Ramos said. 

Women’s basketball games are currently streaming on ESPN for the Final Four games occurring on Saturday, April 3. 

“We are seeing how many people are tuning in for games when they are actually being streamed on ESPN and ABC and all the bigger cable networks,” Ramos said. “I think it shows that a budget can be a lot higher for teams because they are getting the recognition that they deserve.”

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