NCAA Basketball Still Giving Women Less Reliable COVID Tests Than Men Get
The NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournament had a huge scandal last week when viral social media posts showed that the women’s team facilities were of far lower quality than the men’s facilities. In response, they made a big show of giving the women athletes a far nicer weight room overnight on Saturday. But they are still giving the women cheaper and less reliable COVID-19 tests, which seems… kind of a bigger problem?
Let me put it on Twitter too cause this needs the attention pic.twitter.com/t0DWKL2YHR
— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 19, 2021
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The whole situation blew up last Thursday on the first day of the tournament (the women’s teams and men’s teams play on the same days, but on different TV networks, and in different cities). Oregon basketball player Sedona Prince posted the above video showing that the women’s weight rooms were far crappier than the men’s, and Stanford assistant coach Ali Kersher detailed this on an Instagram post that blew up. “This needs to be addressed. These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities,” Kershner posted.
Social media is powerful. Thank you for all of y’all’s support pic.twitter.com/YR5ZNwywv6
— Sedona Prince (@sedonaprince_) March 20, 2021
Then on Saturday, the NCAA made a very big to-do over quickly supplying the women with much fancier and more tricked-out weight rooms, all with curiously Instagrammable mood lighting. Sedona Prince’s video above also went viral, and the clip was featured very prominently on ESPN’s SportCenter (ESPN is the network carrying the women’s tournament). All of this completely sidestepped the COVID-19 testing disparities.
On call with reporters, UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma confirms that inside their respective bubbles, men's teams are using daily PCR tests and women's teams are using daily antigen tests.
He doesn't know why they're using different types of tests.
— Amanda Christovich (@achristovichh) March 19, 2021
They are still giving them women athletes inferior COVID-19 tests inside their respective ‘bubble.’ The men get the “gold standard” PCR tests, whereas the women are given the cheaper, quickie antigen tests. According to the FDA, “Antigen tests are more likely to miss an active COVID-19 infection.”
So a rundown on the disparity between the NCAA men’s v. women’s basketball tourney:
🔘 Women’s weight area was a few dumbbells (before outcry)
🔘 Men get more precise COVID tests
🔘 Men received swag bags w swag
🔘 No budget to cover early rounds of women’s tourney https://t.co/7UrRyEOaCS
— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) March 22, 2021
You might say that these disparities are because “no one watches the women’s tournament.” That’s funny, because ESPN paid $500 million for the rights to broadcast the NCAA women’s tournament.
NCAA athletes are paid absolutely nothing.