Nell Fortner is not here for the NCAA’s half-assed attempt to make it look like the weight room fiasco at the women’s basketball tournament was about difficulty with logistics or anything other than what it was: complete disregard for women, thinking they could get away with it without anyone noticing.
Ahead of Georgia Tech’s second-round game against fourth-seeded West Virginia on Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets’ coach posted a statement to say “THANK YOU!” to the NCAA.
To thank them for showing exactly how they feel about women. To thank them for putting the different treatment of women into such sharp focus that it’s impossible to ignore. To thank them for telling on themselves. She cited the viewership numbers on Oregon center Sedona Prince’s tweet and TikTok video that highlighted the differences between the amenities at the men’s and women’s tournaments. And it was brilliant.
On the court, at least, the NCAA showed on Monday that there is some equality between its treatment of men and women, which is to say, with garbage officiating that ruined an entire game.
Troy had a chance to become the first women’s No. 15 seed to knock off a 2-seed, but a missed backcourt violation in the final seconds led to Texas A&M being able to ice the game at the foul line. It wasn’t just that one bad call, though.
With just over a minute to go and Troy down by two points, Tyasia Moore drove the lane, took a bump from Jordan Nixon, and made her layup for what should have been a tying bucket and a chance for a three-point play to take the lead. Instead, Nixon, who never got to a set position and whose feet were clearly moving, got to go to the free throw line and make it an 80-77 Aggies lead because Moore was called for charging.
Texas A&M might have gone on to win anyway, but the point is that the Aggies’ trip to the second round is clouded with doubt about whether they were gifted an escape from Troy. Oregon, behind 12 points and seven rebounds from Prince, and 22 points from Erin Boley, left no doubt about its worth with a 67-47 dismantling of 11th-seeded South Dakota at the Alamodome.
That means more time in San Antonio for Prince to build her TikTok audience, whether it’s victory dances for the Ducks or showing just how easy it is to treat women equally with the same halfway-decent breakfast the men get.
“This isn’t sponsored by the way, but Wendy’s, hit me up,” Prince said upon tasting her potato wedges, before going on to rave about the breakfast burger with egg.
Alas, there’s another area where the NCAA does treat women just like the men, which is to say, like crap. Prince could definitely use her burgeoning status as an influencer to make a deal with Wendy’s, but since she’s a college athlete, that’s still a no-go, at least for now. The sooner the NCAA gets taken apart, the better. Fortner, Prince, Dawn Staley, and so many others across women’s basketball are doing important work to help get there, and not accepting the NCAA’s cover story as anything more than the self-interested bull that it is.