Posts Highlight Striking Difference Between Weight Rooms for NCAA Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments

According to coaches, Women's teams won't have access to a full weight room until the Sweet 16.

On March 18, 2021, Stanford University Sports Performance Coach Ali Kershner posted a photo on her Instagram page highlighting a disparity between the NCAA men’s and women’s strength and conditioning facilities for their respective basketball tournaments.

The men’s teams are given access to a full gym that includes a full dumbbell rack, approximately two dozen barbells with corresponding sets of bumper plates, at least five weight benches, and a large number of squat racks. In contrast, the women’s setup has one weight tree with dumbbells weighing up to 30 pounds and a pile of yoga mats.

Kershner uses these photos to emphasize the need for the NCAA to address why both groups were not given equal access to strength equipment while quarantining in their respective tournament bubbles (a protective measure against COVID-19). Per her Instagram post, teams will stay in the bubble for up to three weeks.

If you have not seen Kershner’s post yet, you can do so below courtesy of her Instagram page:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ali Kershner, MS, CSCS (@kershner.ali)

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This needs to be addressed. These women want and deserve to be given the same opportunities.

Kershner concluded her post by saying, “In a year defined by a fight for equality, this is a chance to have a conversation and get better.”

Kershner wasn’t the only coach to point out the discrepancy. University of Texas at Austin Sports Performance Coach Zack Zillner echoed Kershner’s concerns via Twitter:

“Same sport. Same national tournament. Same number of teams. [Women’s basketball] only has access to one stationary bike and a “weight pyramid” for the first two rounds. [Women’s basketball] can’t use the weight room till the sweet 16. [Men’s basketball] has access to theirs right away.”

It appears a more complete strength training setup won’t be available to women’s teams until the Sweet 16. As first highlighted by Yahoo Sports, University of South Carolina Performance Coach, Molly Binetti, also spoke out on Twitter about the disparity, tweeting, “A weight room will be available once you advance to the sweet 16… two racks, two bars, dumbbells up to 50 pounds.”


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A post shared by NCAA Women’s Basketball 🏀 (@ncaawbb)

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NCAA Response

On March 19, 2021, in response to the backlash over the disparity between weight rooms available to the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the NCAA admitted they “fell short.” According to the Washington Post, Vice President of NCAA Women’s Basketball Lynn Holzman said that there is an active effort to improve the women’s exercise facilities following a call with coaches and team administrators.

NCAA Tournament Schedules

For context as to how long teams in both tournaments will remain in their respective bubbles, the NCAA March Madness tournament schedules are listed below.

NCAA Women’s Tournament

All games for the women’s tournament will take place in five arenas across Texas: The Alamodome (San Antonio, TX) Bill Greehey Arena (San Antonio, TX), UTSA Convocation Center (San Antonio, TX), Frank Erwin Center (Austin, TX), and University Events Center (San Marcos, TX).

  • First Round — Sunday, March 21 through Monday, March 22
  • Second Round — Tuesday, March 23 through Wednesday, March 24
  • Sweet 16 — Saturday, March 27 through Sunday, March 28
  • Elite Eight — Monday March 29 through Tuesday, March 30
  • Final Four — Friday, April 2
  • NCAA Women’s Championship Game — Sunday, April 4

NCAA Men’s Tournament

All games for the men’s tournament will take place in six arenas across Indiana: Mackey Arena at Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN), Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) Hinkle Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN), Indiana Farmers Coliseum (Indianapolis, IN), Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN), and Lucas Oil Stadium, (Indianapolis, IN).

  • First Four — Thursday, March 18
  • First Round — Friday, March 19 through Saturday, March 20
  • Second round — Sunday, March 21 through Monday, March 22
  • Sweet 16 — Saturday, March 27 through Sunday, March 28
  • Elite Eight — Monday, March 29 through Tuesday, March 30
  • Final Four — Saturday, April 3
  • NCAA Men’s Championship Game — Monday, April 5

Featured image from Ali Kershner’s Instagram page: @kershner.ali