Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach Nell Fortner sent out a blistering statement on the NCAA Tuesday, sarcastically “thanking” the organization for showing the disparities between the tournaments.
Fortner, who has led the Yellow Jackets since 2019, tweeted the statement amid heavy criticism hurled at the NCAA over the differences in weight rooms, meals and even swag bags.
“Thank you for using the three biggest weeks of your organization’s year to expose exactly how you feel about women’s basketball — an afterthought,” she wrote.
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“Thank you for showing off the disparities between the men’s and women’s tournament that are on full display in San Antonio,” she continued. “From COVID testing, to lack of weight training facilities, to game floors that hardly tell anyone that it’s the NCAA Tournament and many more. But these disparities are just a snapshot of larger, more pervasive issues when it comes to women’s sports and the NCAA. Shipping in a few racks of weights, after the fact, is not an answer. It’s a band-aid [sic] and an afterthought.”
“Isn’t the NCAA a non-profit, devoted to running championships with student-athletes that must be academically eligible to compete in those championships?” she asked. “In what other non-profit educational endeavor is it acceptable to treat young women as a less valuable financial commodity? At what individual university would it be acceptable to give women inferior text books and cheaper cafeteria food because of their perceived cash value?”
Fortner pointed out that the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament might not draw as high as the Men’s Tournament’s TV audience, but it’s still viewed enough to have “earned the right to be marketed.”
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She also pointed to the numbers Oregon forward Sedona Prince received on her TikTok video exposing the weight room disparities.
“For too long women’s basketball has accepted and attitude and treatment from the NCAA that has been substandard and in its championships,” Fortner said. “It’s time for this to stop. It’s time for women’s basketball to receive the treatment it has earned.
“Thanks for the exposure,” she added.
The NCAA’s basketball officials had apologized for the issues Friday.
“I apologize to the women’s student-athletes, coaches and committee for dropping the ball on the weight room issue in San Antonio, we’ll get it fixed as soon as possible,” NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said.
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The NCAA Women’s Basketball Twitter account touted the “new” weight room two days before the tournament tipped off.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.