Report: Mark Emmert orders NCAA probe into tourney disparities

FILE PHOTO: NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Buffalo vs Kentucky
FILE PHOTO: Mar 17, 2018; Boise, ID, USA; NCAA president Mark Emmert looks on during the first half between the Buffalo Bulls and the Kentucky Wildcats during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Taco Bell Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

March 24, 2021

NCAA president Mark Emmert ordered a probe into how the facilities at the women’s NCAA Tournament lagged far behind the amenities at the men’s NCAA Tournament, according to an ESPN report Monday.

In a letter obtained by ESPN, Emmert wrote that the organization will seek to discover “exactly how we found ourselves in this situation.”

A public outcry arose after social media posts from the women’s NCAA Tournament “bubble” in San Antonio showed that the weight room was far inferior to that at the men’s NCAA Tournament “bubble” in Indianapolis. In addition, women’s tourney participants pointed out that the men had superior COVID-19 testing, food availability and swag bags.

Emmert’s letter said, in part, according to ESPN, “I have directed our leadership team and appropriate staff to assess all the services, resources, and facilities provided to both the men’s and women’s teams so that we have a completely clear comparison. Further, I will be determining exactly how we found ourselves in this situation. This will be discussed with our applicable boards, committees and membership when the tournament is over and the review is complete.

“For now, please know that I am deeply disappointed that the past few days have been focused on NCAA blunders rather than the remarkable athletes in San Antonio. Putting on these tournaments is always an enormous feat, and this year has been much more difficult to say the least. I know how hard our staff has worked and thank you for your continued perseverance. I hope that we can now turn our attention to the women’s games with confidence that they are receiving all that they need and deserve. You have my assurances that all will be done to make sure this never happens again.”

Separately, though, Emmert acknowledged Monday while speaking to the Economic Club of Indiana that the women’s tourney wasn’t even supposed to have a weight room, according to The Athletic.

A tweet from The Athletic quotes Emmert as saying, “The ‘weight rooms’ that were shown on the videos, those were never intended to be weight rooms. Those were exercise rooms before the kids went onto the court for practice … But once the video’s out there, the video’s out there.”

-Field Level Media