COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On social media, it came to light Thursday the inequity in amenities between the men and women Big Dance bubble venues.
The men enjoy a vast weight room in Indianapolis. While in San Antonio, Texas, the women have a weight rack. Swag bags vary in size, with the men receiving more gifts. And, WIS has been told the food so far in Texas has been “garbage.”
“We’re under the umbrella of March Madness,” said Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley. “The NCAA owns March Madness and all of its luxury. Then it should feel luxurious for every student-athlete.”
Staley calls Lynn Holzman, the NCAA Vice President of women’s basketball, “heroic for facing the music.” She puts the onus on the higher-ups for the shortcomings in Texas.
“They put the women’s basketball leaders in a position of having the firing squad [and] answering questions about things she probably can’t share,” Staley added. “There’s no way we should be in this position as women to have to defend the championship that we so excitedly want to be a part of.”
Staley believes in standing up for what the championship stands for. She acknowledged the men make more in revenue than women. But, that should not result in unequal treatment.
“Somebody has to be the one that creates this equality for women,” said Staley. “It’s going to take a strong individual.”
Gamecock sophomore guard Zia Cooke, competing in her first tournament, applauds her male peers for showcasing the disparities while voicing support for women.
“It definitely shows a big role from them to see they’re on our side about this,” Cooke said. “This is an example of what’s been going on unnoticed. We’re finally taking a stand. I think things are going to get better.”
Cooke exudes confidence in how Carolina has adapted to the conditions to be fit for competition.
Staley knows her team needs to push through the adverse situation.
“We were prepared to do things in our room virtually to make sure our players stay in some kind of shape,” Staley said. “It’s hard. The last two practices, our players were actually sucking wind.”
South Carolina keeps its focus on what’s in its control, an exciting opportunity to begin the journey toward a national title.
Gamecocks play Mercer Sunday night in the first round.