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How Sedona Prince Spurred the Conversation on Equity in March Madness

“The N.C.A.A. tournament was where we were like, ‘This is where we’re finally going to have an experience and it’s going to be fun,’” Prince said this month in an interview at the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas. “There was this sigh of relief: We made it here.”

But when players arrived nearly a week before their first game and settled in, they were greeted by something else: inadequate food, continued isolation, daily virus testing, makeshift practice and workout facilities, and some venues that were no bigger than high school gyms. Even the gift bags were meager compared with what was given to the men.

“It was just a disappointment to get there and see it was nothing like we expected,” she said.

After a few days of this — and seeing the N.C.A.A. try to explain away the inequities that had been mentioned on social media — the Oregon players vented to one another at practice. Prince decided to act because she had, by far, the biggest social media following on the team.

She made the video and posted it on TikTok. It created a few ripples, but little else, so she posted it on Twitter.

“Twitter is where that kind of stuff gets coverage and traction,” said Prince, whose social media presence has mushroomed to three million followers on TikTok, 250,000 on Instagram and 43,000 on Twitter. “And that’s when the craziness happened.”

Within 48 hours, Prince had been retweeted by Curry, interviewed on CNN and, voilà, the women had new workout facilities almost overnight.

“This was a thing that was almost impossible not to be angry about, even men and people who don’t watch sports,” she said. “That’s why it got so much attention. It wasn’t a small weight room; it wasn’t a tiny little gap. You couldn’t not see the problem.”

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