SAN ANTONIO — First-round action for the NCAA Women's Division 1 Basketball Tournament – which is being held entirely in San Antonio and the surrounding region – tipped off Sunday, but the tourney was already embroiled in drama of the off-court variety as athletes and coaches brought attention to the vast disparities between their experience and that of programs in the men's tournament.
The NCAA has since addressed some of the criticism by providing more weights and training equipment to athletes. Meanwhile, with games beginning Sunday, officials emphasized that the tourney's host city was in no way at fault for the issues that have garnered media attention in recent days.
"The City of San Antonio and its community has done an absolutely tremendous job preparing for, being ready and just embracing our championship being here," NCAA Vice President Lynn Holzman said while speaking to ESPN. "The issues that have been noted are the responsibility of the NCAA. They're not the responsibility of the City of San Antonio."
Local leaders largely stayed quiet in regards to the inequality issues being spotlighted in the Alamo City-hosted event, though former Mayor Julián Castro did retweet a viral post from University of Oregon player Sedona Prince that visually highlighted how much less training equipment the women's tourney offered compared to the men.
San Antonio is also set to host the men's basketball Final Four in 2025.