Fitness stores and gyms offer services for women players at NCAA Tournament

As the NCAA deals with the backlash because of its treatment of the women players at the NCAA Tournament, companies have offered their services in hopes to make the experience in San Antonio better.

Melissa Christian, vice president of marketing at Dick's Sporting Goods, told USA TODAY Sports they've started moving some of their equipment from stores across Texas to San Antonio for the women players to use.

"When we first saw it last night, I think the first thing that came to our mind was just knowing how much work these athletes have put in to be at the tournament," Christian said. "They definitely deserve to have facilities that would allow them to perform to their best ability on the court."

The equipment hasn't been sent yet, Christian said, because the NCAA first needs to approve the move, but truckloads of equipment are ready to be sent out.

@NCAA Our teammates have worked quickly to get truckloads of fitness equipment ready to send to the women’s @ncaawbb@marchmadness bubble – we are standing by to deliver it and have your facility outfitted within hours! Let’s make this happen.

Christian added that some of the equipment includes treadmills, stationary bikes and power racks, among other things. 

The NCAA has faced extensive backlash after photos circulated on social media showing the disparity between the workout equipment, and spaces, between the men and women players. Male players had a full weight room in Indianapolis, while the women's tournament in San Antonio had only a rack of weights and some yoga mats in an nearly empty ballroom. There were also disparities in tournament gifts and quality of food.

Orangetheory Fitness also offered its help to the women, as they announced Friday afternoon that they would make studios available for private sessions, or make a full range of their floor equipment available.  

"This tournament is a celebration of the best players in the league. No one should be asked to forgo their training at this critical moment," the company said on Twitter.

Tonal, a company that makes smart gyms, offered 10 of their smart gyms that could be delivered to San Antonio by Saturday.

Orangetheory will make its studios available for private sessions with any team, or we will bring water rowers and a full range of floor and weight equipment to any central location. We want to help. DM & tell us how.

. @sedonaprince_ This is ridiculous. Let’s one up them. We’re sending 10 Tonal Smart Gyms that will arrive in San Antonio tomorrow for all of the players. Please DM us for next steps.

Good luck to all of the @marchmadness teams!

"We really hope that our efforts show the female athletes that they're supported and people see them, hear them, respect them and stand with them and behind them," Christian said.

Contact Jordan Mendoza at [email protected] or on Twitter @jord_mendoza

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