Thursday December 7, 2023

Hardly a Fitness Center

  • The first discrepancy that emerged was the difference between men’s and women’s bubbles were the gyms.
  • Fitness companies sprung into action to help, but the NCAA didn't exactly jump at the opportunity.
Photo: Oregon Athletics/Design: Alex Brooks
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The first discrepancy that emerged between men’s and women’s bubbles were the gyms. On Thursday, athletes posted viral photos and videos comparing the men’s sprawling weight room to the women’s lone pyramid dumbbell rack. 

As a result, fitness companies including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Tonal sprung into action.

But when they offered to send equipment to the bubble, the NCAA didn’t exactly jump at the opportunity, the two companies told FOS.

Attempts to Send Help

On Thursday evening, Dick’s asked strength coaches what kind of equipment they wished they had, a company spokesperson told FOS. The next day, Dick’s reached out to “several different executives” at the NCAA to ask if they needed equipment. By 4 p.m. ET, no one had responded. 

So they posted a tweet with a picture of masked Dick’s employees in front of three large U-Haul vans. The spokesperson said they were not only willing to send fitness equipment to the bubble, but their “trucks were loaded up and ready.” 

The NCAA still did not respond.

On Saturday morning, Dick’s tried one more time, but the NCAA told them “they had addressed the situation.”

Tonal, which sells home gyms, also tweeted that it would send their equipment to the San Antonio bubble. “This is ridiculous. Let’s one-up them,” Tonal tweeted in response to Oregon player Sedona Prince’s viral Tik Tok.

Ten Tonals arrived at the bubble “over the weekend,” a Tonal spokesperson confirmed to FOS, but they haven’t been installed yet. 

Eligibility Concern

It’s unclear whether eligibility rules would even allow athletes or the NCAA to accept help from outside companies. 

Dick’s said they didn’t ask about eligibility. They would have donated the equipment if needed, and were “open” to working with the NCAA.

As of Monday evening, Tonal said they’re currently “working through COVID protocols and association regulations to try and get them installed.”

The NCAA did not respond to a request for comment or clarification on how eligibility rules would apply.

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