March Madness is college basketball’s popular tournament showcasing student-athletes. A controversy comparing weight rooms provided for male and female athletes drew attention from notable individuals, including Vanessa Bryant.
Despite Kobe Bryant’s unfortunate passing, his widow has chosen to use her popular platform to expose issues such as the treatment of women who play college basketball. A performance coach for women’s basketball named Ali Kerschner helped to ignite the NCAA weight room debate by posting comparison photos of the NCAA men’s basketball and women’s basketball weight room set-up.
Additionally, players such as University of Oregon forward Sedona Prince posted a Tik Tok video pointing out disparities over the biggest tournament in college basketball for women. Bryant reposted Prince’s video, which included a captioned post. It stated, “It’s 2021 and we’re still fighting for bits and pieces of equality.”
“This is our weight room,” Prince said, as viewers were shown a large room with ample space and scant equipment such as yoga mats and a dumbbell rack. “Lemme show y’all the men’s weight room.”
After the camera scans a room full of equipment, Prince said that the NCAA released a statement that space was the problem, not money, when photos of both make and female weight rooms were released. However, Prince refuted the statement by pointing out that there was extra space in the women’s area.
Bryant included a posted comment on her Instagram account.
“I know there’s gifting rules…how can we help?” Bryant asked.
Kershner and Prince were not alone in posting pictures and videos about the weight rooms. After public criticism against the NCAA mounted, change began to unfold.
When an improved weight room located inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio featured more equipment for women, Prince posted another Tik Tok video thanking people for support, while noting the power of social media.
“Guess what, guys. We got a weight room! Yeah!” Prince exclaimed.The basketball player noted the welcome inclusion of more dumbbells, racks for squats, and other equipment for women. And, yes, she thanked the NCAA for listening, too.