• Hailey Gabron

It’s Time for a Change: Gender Inequality within the NCAA

Wednesday the 12th marked the NCAA Division I women’s golf regionals covering the United States at four locations: Stanford Golf Course, Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course, University of Louisville Golf Club, and the University of Baton Rouge. However, when it was almost time to play with a 1 pm start time, theD1 women golfers approaching LSU’s course were met by heartbreaking news from the NCAA Committee Representative Brad Hurlbut. Golfers were told that regionals had been canceled only, a development that allowed the top six seeded teams to advance and three top golfers from non-advancing teams to move to the next round of the championship due to rain.

When announcing the cancellation of regionals to the teams, Brad Hurlburt stated, “Even though the course is playable, it’s not playable at a championship level.” Coaches and the women golfers were justifiably outraged in response to the news because if the course was playable, then why cancel it? The golf season for these women playing for the University of Miami, University of Houston, and Mississippi State instantly halted. Interestingly, four hours later LSU’s men’s golf team was playing on the same course without problems. Why were the women not allowed to play but shortly after the men were? Additionally, at this level of play why was there no backup plan, maintenance crews, pumps and solutions beyond a cancellation? Sadly, the NCAA has had a pattern discriminating against women athletes and teams. This issue is not new.

In San Antonio, Texas the 64 women's basketball teams that qualified for the Women’s National Championship faced the same kind of unequal treatment to male athletes competing in March Madness. Women were given a meager pile of yoga mats and a single rack of weights for their “training facility” while male athletes received an expansive weight room. The discrepancies did not just stop there; male basketball players got better food, championship merchandise, and equipment. Not to mention just last month, at the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championships women were told they would have no coverage or broadcasting for the first two rounds of the tournament and no locker rooms. Social media and apps like Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat have called out the NCAA, and only after these urgent issues are brought to the public and national eye do actual changes seem to be made. The ongoing discrimination and horrendous treatment for these high-level athletes need to be changed starting from the organization that controls them all: the NCAA.