Dick's Sporting Goods Sends Workout Equipment to NCAA Women's Teams After Weight Room Controversy

Dick's Sporting Goods is taking action following the recent controversy surrounding the differences in training areas provided for the men and women's teams set to compete in March Madness.

The retail company announced on March 19 that they would be sending "truckloads of fitness equipment" to the women's teams participating in the 2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament in San Antonio, Texas.

The official Twitter account for the sporting goods store posted a picture showing three large U-Haul trucks and Dick's staff ready to transport the equipment. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the photo was taken at The Rim shopping center in the Texas city.

"@NCAA Our teammates have worked quickly to get truckloads of fitness equipment ready to send to the women's @ncaawbb @marchmadness bubble – we are standing by to deliver it and have your facility outfitted within hours!" the company tweeted. "Let's make this happen."

Last Thursday, Oregon University basketball player Sedona Prince posted a video to social media that compared the equipment the NCAA provided for the women's and men's teams, which started last week in Texas for the women's games and in Indiana for the men's games.

Prince's video appears to show that the women's training area was only provided with six pairs of dumbbells of varying weights, while the men's area was furnished with numerous training racks, bars, plates, dumbbells and benches — pretty much everything one would expect in a proper gym.

"So, for the NCAA March Madness, the biggest tournament in college basketball for women… This is our weight room," she said while turning the camera around to the small stack of weights. The camera then cuts to show the men's fully-equipped training area.

"Now when pictures of our weight room got released versus the men's, the NCAA came out with a statement saying that it wasn't money, it was space that was the problem," Prince said before showing a large empty space in the women's area that could fit more equipment. "If you aren't upset about this problem, then you are a part of it."

Prince's video quickly went viral on social media, garnering nearly 17 million views after it was uploaded to her Twitter account. The clip has also enacted real change in the form of a new women's weight room.

The updated weight room now has all the equipment one would expect for athletes competing at the most important college basketball event of the year, including heavier weights, as shown in a video of sports reporter Holly Rowe touring the facility. 

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Amid the backlash, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt apologized for the controversy and Vice President of Women's Basketball, Lynn Holzman, admitted the organization "fell short."

"I'm a former women's basketball student athlete and it's always been my priority to make this event the best possible experience for everyone involved," Holzman said in a video statement. "This is my passion — I care about women's basketball and women in sport. We fell short this year in what we've been doing to prepare in the last 60 days for 64 teams to be here in San Antonio and we acknowledge that." 

In an interview with MSNBC, Prince said she hopes to see "more equality" in the future.

"And to be represented in a way that we feel special and we feel like we are true division 1 athletes," she continued. "Just make our NCAA experience what we all hoped it would be."

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