Holzman, NCAA leaders address weight room, other amenities in San Antonio
Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president for women’s basketball, opened Friday morning’s Division I Women’s Basketball Championship media briefing acknowledging the wave of recent concerns about some of the amenities provided to student-athletes participating in this year’s tournament.
“As a former women’s basketball student-athlete, it’s always been my priority to make this event the best possible experience for everyone involved,” Holzman said. “We fell short this year in what we’ve been doing to prepare in the past 60 days for 64 teams to be here in San Antonio.”
NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt and NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee Chair Nina King were also on the call.
King stressed the committee’s expectation for an elite championship experience and thanked NCAA staff for their diligent and immediate response to concerns about inequity.
“I do have confidence that as a women’s basketball community we can work together and address the shortfalls here in San Antonio and moving forward,” King said.
A full recording of the media briefing is available in the NCAA’s Digital Media Hub.
Weight room accessibility
One of the issues for the women’s basketball championship participants has been inadequate weight training facilities.
Holzman said she and her staff are examining how to readjust available square footage within the unique footprint of the controlled environment in San Antonio to provide more training opportunities for teams while maintaining health and safety protocols.
“We have intentionally organized basketball under one umbrella [at the NCAA] to ensure consistency and collaboration. When we fall short on these expectations, it’s on me,” Gavitt said. “I apologize to women’s basketball student-athletes, coaches and the women’s basketball committee for dropping the ball on the weight rooms in San Antonio.”
Holzman led a call last night with coaches and team administrators to solicit feedback on potential solutions for weight training options. Improvements are expected to be in place by Saturday morning.
Food quality, “swag bag” disparities
In addition to weight training, other concerns raised by student-athletes include the food quality at their hotels and the items in their “swag bag” compared to men’s basketball participants in Indianapolis.
Holzman emphasized that her staff works proactively with men’s basketball when putting together gift bags for the tournaments. While the content of the bags is different, the dollar value of the gifts is equal, Holzman stressed.
With teams having only been in San Antonio for two calendar days, the food quality issue raised by participants was addressed immediately with hotels. Holzman also spoke on identifying flexible food options for participants. Once participants complete their required two-day quarantine upon arrival, outside food may be brought to them in accordance with their particular hotel’s health and safety protocols.
Further, the staff and local organizing committee have established partnerships with local restaurants to provide even more options to participants.