Social media is a powerful weapon for change.
It spreads so quickly and abruptly; inciting change should never be so dire that social media needs to be the driving force for action.
On Thursday, March 27, Oregon University basketball player Sedona Prince took to TikTok and Twitter in order to show the differences in equipment the NCAA provided for the women’s and men’s teams. In Prince’s video, she shows the women’s training area that was provided which included only six pairs of dumbbells of varying weights, while the men’s area was furnished with numerous training racks, bars, plates, dumbbells and benches.
Ferris women’s basketball freshman guard Kaydn Blanchard said she believes that the difference seen between what the men received as facilities and what the women did was “very uncalled for.” She believes that a set of dumbbells and some yoga mats weren’t enough.
“I was just wondering what they think we do in the weight rooms at our schools, because, at least here, we do a lot more than that,” Blanchard said. “I do understand that there is a difference in money being brought into the NCAA from the men and women’s side, but that doesn’t mean that the women don’t work as hard as the men do, and all of the teams who made it there deserved better than what they got.”
The NCAA is a nonprofit organization, therefore it must abide by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which is federal law. The concern of the NCAA following Title IX regulations is now brought back to attention.
On the NCAA website, they clearly define Title IX as: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
And even into Title IX benefits on the NCAA website, Title IX claims, “…the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of (a) equipment and supplies; (b) scheduling of games and practice times; (c) travel and daily allowance/per diem; (d) access to tutoring; (e) coaching, (f) locker rooms, practice, and competitive facilities; (g) medical and training facilities and services; (h) housing and dining facilities and services; (i) publicity and promotions; (j) support services; and (k) recruitment of student-athletes.”
Other Ferris women’s basketball players rose to this conversation such as senior guards Shaniya Huggins and Adrienne Anderson, along with sophomore guard Mallory McCartney. All three Bulldogs expressed that the NCAA needs to take drastic action to make sure this never happens again.
Shaniya Huggins was angered by the fact the the NCAA only reacted after they received backlash for the event, stating that if they wouldn’t have received backlash, the NCAA wouldn’t have even acknoleged that issue.
“I do not feel that the NCAA cares for their athletes, because if they did this would not have been an issue. They need to be better all the way around, no exceptions,” McCartney said.
Adrienne Anderson explained that athletes of both genders need the same supplies to be successful with both men’s and weomen’s teams deserving equal support from the NCAA.
“They need proper food, facilities to practice and lift, the big dance gifts, etc. However, women do as well. There is no difference when it comes to that,” Anderson said. “Both men and women made it to the tournament, so they both should get the proper resources and support from the NCAA.”
With Prince’s posts quickly gaining over 17 million views, it caught the attention of multiple companies that took off to help the women athletes. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Planet Fitness both commented and created posts of their own as they claimed they had equipment ready for the NCAA to give to the women’s teams for a better weight room.
The NCAA didn’t respond to either company. Instead, according to PEOPLE.com, a spokesperson said that the NCAA informed the companies they appreciated the offers but already had new equipment covered.
The four Bulldogs expressed their thoughts and feelings on this change.
Huggins said the change meant everything for her to see, but that it was a shame it got so far out of hand. Anderson expressed that she wasn’t all that surprised, as it’s not a new problem, but it does need to be resolved. Blanchard stated that while it was nice to see attention brought up and something changed, the fight will continue.
McCartney said that the change developed was fine to see but still not acceptable that a change even was needed. Just like their male counterparts, women athletes deserve the very best at the biggest tournament of the year, nothing less, and McCartney made this point very clear.
“I would’ve hoped by now that women’s athletics would have the same respect as men’s, but women are going to continue to fight for as long as they must. I wish we didn’t have to, but if this is what it takes, I think all women athletes are up for it,” McCartney said. “It’s sickening seeing the difference between the men and the women’s, but how the women were able to realize they deserve better and used their platform to show it was very powerful and influential.”
The number of inequalities between the men’s and women’s teams are seen and exposed now more than ever. Ferris Bulldogs are feeling the trickle-down effect, as they feel that the NCAA cares but has more work to do. Blanchard said the NCAA has people who will fight for equal rights between men and women athletes, but she also feels there are some people who have one way of thinking that just won’t change.
While the world continues to grow in fighting for equality across genders, it goes to show that the world has come a long way. However, we still have a lot more work to do in order to ensure equality for all athletes, regardless of gender.