INDIANAPOLIS — Images and video from inside the NCAA Tournaments have drawn a lot of attention, showing the incredibly different treatment and amenities the men's and women’s teams are getting this week.
One of the most widely circulated photos shows the difference between the weight training options. The men have a whole room, complete with machines and weights of all sizes. A photo shows one rack of weights and a stack of yoga mats for the women.
“At first I thought it was a joke,” Kate Todd, a former college athlete and coach, said.
She now serves as the president of the Indiana Coaches of Girls’ Sports Association. She said she played numerous sports growing up and always felt like she had what she needed, both as a female athlete and coach.
“I do feel like Indiana, the IHSAA and administrators across Indiana have done a really great job with Title IX, with taking care of female athletes,” Todd said.
“When I was at the University of Southern Indiana our facilities were gorgeous. Indiana University, our facilities, our baseball facility and softball facility were right next to each other and they were equal and gorgeous. I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” she said referring to the NCAA basketball tournament weight room photos.
Todd said she is glad the female athletes are taking a stand and fighting for equal equipment but posting the disparities online. She thinks they’re setting a great example for younger girls all across the country.
“They're going to see to stand up for themselves, some of them may see what they have and be super appreciative, some of them may see, oh maybe there are some things in our weight room that we need to fight for,” Todd said.
She said the fans need to do their part as well to help create equality for female athletes.
“We need to go to their games. We need to buy tickets," Todd said. "As sports fans we need to buy their apparel. We need to follow them on social media, follow their accolades. We need to make sure that we are supporting our female athletes, we need to be there for them every day, not just when things are bad."