With the NCAA addressing the backlash for the treatment of women players in the NCAA tournament, companies have offered their services in hopes of enhancing the San Antonio experience.
Melissa Christian, vice president of marketing at Dick’s Sporting Goods, told USA TODAY Sports that they have started moving some of their gear from stores across Texas to San Antonio for female players to use.
“When we first saw it last night, the first thing that crossed our minds was knowing how much work these athletes put into the tournament,” said Christian. “They definitely deserve to have the facilities that enable them to perform at their best on the pitch.”
The equipment has not yet been shipped, Christian said, as the NCAA has yet to approve the move, but truckloads of equipment are ready to be shipped.
Christian added that some of the pieces of equipment include treadmills, stationary bikes, and power racks, among others.
The NCAA faced significant setbacks after photos were shared on social media showing the differences between exercise machines and spaces between men and women. Male players in Indianapolis had a full weight room, while the women’s tournament in San Antonio had only a rack of weights and a few yoga mats in a nearly empty ballroom. There were also differences in the tournament gifts and the quality of the food.
Orangetheory Fitness also offered to help the women when they announced on Friday afternoon that they would be making studios available for private sessions or providing a full range of their floor equipment.
“This tournament is a celebration of the best players in the league. Nobody should be asked to stop training at this critical moment,” the company said on Twitter.
Tonal, a company that makes smart gyms, offered 10 of its smart gyms that could be delivered to San Antonio by Saturday.
“We really hope that our efforts show the female athletes that they are supported and that people see, hear, respect and stand with and behind them,” said Christian.