The NCAA has a chronic problem with undervalued women, writer and presenter Jemele Hill said Friday – and the recent controversy over weight room discrepancies highlights that inequality.
"This has long been a persistent problem when it comes to the lack of equity between men's and women's sports," Hill said. "This should let everyone know who is seeing and hearing this story that it was about the fact that they didn't think they were worth it to begin with."
A Stanford University athletic performance coach posted photos on Twitter Thursday exposing inequalities between the weight rooms of women and men.
Photos of Ali Kershner, a coach for the Stanford women's basketball and golf teams, showed the women's weight room in the NCAA bubble in San Antonio – a dumbbell rack and some yoga mats. The men's weight room in their NCAA bubble in Indianapolis. was decked out with equipment worth a gym.
On a Friday morning call to Zoom, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt promised to do better.
"I apologize to the students, coaches and the women's committee for dropping the ball on the San Antonio weight room issue. We'll fix it as soon as possible," said Gavitt.
NCAA vice president for women's basketball Lynn Holzman said later Friday the organization is looking at ways to adjust square footage and provide more exercise opportunities.
Hill told CNBC's The News with Shepard Smith on Friday that the rapid response was indicative.
"When they were caught and this video went viral, they suddenly had a change of heart within 24 hours," said Hill, who hosts the Spotify podcast. "Jemele Hill is undisturbed." "The money was always there. The money isn't the problem. The problem is they don't believe these women are worth it."
ESPN signed a 14-year $ 500 million contract with the NCAA in the 2023/24 academic year to expand rights to 24 college championships, including continued coverage of the Women's Division I basketball tournament.
Hill told host Shepard Smith that going forward, the NCAA "must do everything it can to show that they take women's sport seriously because it looks worse as the background to this is that it is the month of women's history."
NCAA officials were not immediately available Friday to respond to Hill's comments.