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Men's and Women's Tournament Teams Use Different COVID-19 Tests, NCAA Acknowledges

March 22, 2021
 
 

On Friday, the National Collegiate Athletics Association apologized for disparities between its men's and women’s March Madness workout facilities and said the issue would be fixed as soon as possible, The New York Times reported. Videos and photos showed that while teams playing in the men’s tournament had a large weight room with dozens of squat racks, barbells and benches, teams in the women’s tournament appeared only to have one rack of dumbbells, inciting uproar on social media.

Later in the day, the NCAA’s president, Mark Emmert, acknowledged differences in COVID-19 testing for men’s and women’s teams during the events. Players competing in the men’s tournament are given PCR tests, while players competing in the women’s tournament are given rapid antigen tests. The former is considered the gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis, and the latter is a less sensitive test more prone to false results.

“We have complete confidence in all the medical protocols that have been put together,” Emmert said. “All of the health experts say the protocol that they’re using right now in all our venues and all our championships is one that has no difference at all in our ability to mitigate risk.”

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