Appears like simply yesterday we had been rubbing our eyes in disbelief over the virtually nonexistent “weight rooms” on the NCAA ladies’s basketball match. Lower than a month later, right here we’re once more — this time it is volleyball within the highlight, as coaches are calling out poor taking part in circumstances and media protection of the NCAA match.
The ladies’s volleyball match begins April 14 (it was postponed final fall as a result of COVID-19) and was organized so each recreation takes place in the identical location: CHI Well being Middle, a conference middle in Omaha, NE. That is one factor coaches are anxious about: the ability itself.
In keeping with Huge Ten Community’s Emily Ehman, a number of coaches have mentioned the convention center’s practice courts are “sport courtroom layered over cement flooring,” a mixture that is “very excessive danger for harm and NOT appropriate for gamers’ security — particularly any gamers leaping repeatedly,” an apparent problem for volleyball gamers. And Nebraska coach John Cook dinner informed the Related Press that coaches are additionally concerned about the overall setup of the conference middle, which can home 4 competitors courts in two halls and eight observe courts crammed into a 3rd. Within the first and second rounds, 4 matches will probably be performed on the similar time, which is extra like a high-school match, Cook dinner famous.
“Girls’s volleyball will not be worthy of announcers? Loads [of] succesful commentators pleased to do the work without cost. Let’s get organized.”
Different circumstances additionally drew this vital comparability, together with broadcast protection of the match. ESPN is carrying the match and had solely deliberate to supply a stay stream — with no commentators — for the primary two rounds, a call that drew sharp responses from coaches. “It is gorgeous they are not (having) a broadcast staff,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield informed AP. “To me it is simply lazy . . . that you simply’re simply going to be silence whereas watching NCAA match video games.” This match ought to really feel vital and particular, the apex of the season; as an alternative, he mentioned, “it should come throughout as a highschool kind of deal.”
Purdue coach Dave Shondell referred to as the shortage of commentary “bush league” (that’s, second-rate and never worthy of those high-level athletes) in a scathing tweet. “Girls’s volleyball is not worthy of announcers?” he wrote. “Loads [of] succesful commentators pleased to do the work without cost. Let’s get organized.” Sheffield noticed similarity between the state of affairs and that of the ladies’s basketball weight rooms, noting that it had the potential to attract simply as a lot ire: “I’ve a sense that would blow up as a lot as what the burden room stuff did in ladies’s basketball.”
ESPN and the NCAA apparently agreed. In an announcement final week, the NCAA defined that broadcasters have “no requirement” to cover or give stay commentary of the primary two rounds of the match, shifting the blame to ESPN for what’s evidently a standard coverage. Pandemic-related restrictions created “extra technical challenges,” NCAA added; distant stay commentary was deliberate for the regional semifinals and regional finals, with on-site commentary for the nationwide semifinals and championship match.
On April 9, following criticism, ESPN modified course, asserting it might “present distant announcers for the primary and second rounds of the championship.” The station confirmed that “all 47 matches will probably be stay on an ESPN platform and can embrace commentators.” Shondell later tweeted his thanks to ESPN for showing to rectify the difficulty.
The NCAA additionally sought to deal with the flooring state of affairs, saying that “felt underlayment is utilized to every observe courtroom to use cushioning and stop courtroom motion. Taraflex flooring will probably be laid over felt underlayment and sport courtroom flooring for the primary three rounds of competitors.” The group disputed the coaches’ description of the flooring, saying courts within the CHI Well being Middle Area had been “Sport Courtroom over a wooden sport flooring system, which has been the normal set-up for the championship.”
There additionally seemed to be confusion over the supply of locker rooms for gamers. In keeping with Sports activities Illustrated, COVID-19 restrictions meant that “locker rooms will not be available in the course of the early rounds of the match,” a baffling transfer to coaches. “Volleyball gamers heat up after which grow to be their uniforms,” Cook dinner informed AP. “How does that work in case you’re in the course of conference Corridor C?”
In its response, the NCAA mentioned, “Opposite to stories, gamers had been by no means anticipated to alter garments on the bench — every staff can have a safe altering space on web site,” although it didn’t give any additional particulars or clarify the confusion.
It is not a great search for the NCAA, which is already underneath scrutiny for unequal remedy in the course of the males’s and girls’s basketball tournaments. Now, because the group did final month, it seems to be taking steps to at the least communicate on the difficulty. However we’re nonetheless left questioning why these highly effective organizations (NCAA and ESPN) should be placed on public blast earlier than offering acceptable taking part in environments and media protection for ladies athletes.