Dawn Staley, one of the most admired coaches in women’s basketball, excoriated the N.C.A.A. on Friday for its approach to her sport and its national tournament — a 64-team event that the governing body of college sports acknowledged Friday had received inadequate resources compared with those available in the men’s competition.
“I cannot be quiet,” Staley, South Carolina’s coach, said at the start of a lengthy statement posted on her Twitter account.
“What we now know is the N.C.A.A.’s season-long messaging about ‘togetherness’ and ‘equality’ was about convenience and a sound bite for the moment created after the murder of George Floyd,” she wrote later, referencing the Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last spring. Directing her sharpest criticism at Mark Emmert, the N.C.A.A. president, Staley said that he and other association executives could not be allowed to “use us and our student-athletes at their convenience.”
“Every team here in San Antonio has earned and deserves at a minimum the same level of respect as the men,” said Staley, whose team is a No. 1 seed. “All the teams here dealt with the same issues as the men’s teams this season; yet their ‘reward’ is different.”
Emmert and other N.C.A.A. executives on Friday acknowledged disparities — most prominently involving coronavirus testing and workout facilities — and, in some instances, apologized for them. But Staley said Friday evening that it was “time for the N.C.A.A. leadership to re-evaluate the value they place on women.”