The NCAA came under fire in recent days after University of Oregon forward Sedona Prince posted a video comparing the weight rooms provided to male and female athletes. Several people weighed in, including Vanessa Bryant. She offered to help in any way that she can.
Bryant reposted Prince's video on her profile, along with several critical tweets from prominent female athletes. "I know there’s gifting rules.... how can we help?" Bryant wrote in the caption of her Instagram post. She was one of the many public figures offering to help amid the weight room controversy. Bryant also posted a video on her Instagram Stories that showed the updated weight room with more equipment.
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The video posted on social media showed the stark differences between the two weight rooms. Prince showed one single set of dumbbells for all of the female athletes to split before walking to the men's training room to show the difference. The male athletes had access to rows and rows of squat racks, complete with barbells and bumper weights. They also had access to several sets of dumbbells.
"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 explained in her video. "Let me show y'all something else." She then panned the camera to show a massive training room that was completely empty except for the single set of dumbbells.
When the video surfaced on social media, it sparked a public outcry. Several called for the NCAA to fix the "blatant show of disrespect" and provide actual workout equipment to the athletes. Dick's Sporting Goods also responded, posting a photo of several employees next to U-Haul trucks. The retailer said that it had workout equipment ready to send to the San Antonio facility.
@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! Let’s make this happen. pic.twitter.com/6QJJjrrDgx— DICK'S Sporting Goods (@DICKS) March 19, 2021
A new weight room did ultimately become available to the first- and second-round teams. There were new benches, dumbbell sets, treadmills, rowing machines, spin bikes, and squat racks. The NCAA then released a statement saying that the organization "fell short this year" when making preparations.