Las Vegas Invitational sparks conversations about women’s equality in sports


Jacob Rice

The 20222 Las Vegas Invitational put inequality in women’s sports into the spotlight.

Lexie Davila, Sports Editor

The Las Vegas Invitational, a two-day National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 tournament, took place on November 25-26 and sparked conversations about equality within women’s sports. The Thanksgiving weekend tournament has been one of the most popular women’s college basketball tournaments for years. 

Teams and coaches were told they would be playing where Athletes Unlimited, a sister league to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), hosts games in Las Vegas.

Instead of receiving the professional facilities to use for the tournament, the nine attending teams played in the ballrooms of The Mirage hotel without being notified of such change in advance. 

The teams have since expressed their displeasure with the arrangements, noting that the dangling chandeliers, lack of fan seating and inadequate flooring served as challenges during the tournament.

One of the teams, the Indiana Hoosiers who are currently ranked fifth in the nation, brought their undefeated team to the tournament. Head coach Teri Moren expressed her disappointment in the Invitational’s planning as well as the overall lack of organization. 

In a post-game press conference, Coach Moren stated that the tournament was “a major miss.” 

Of the problems resulting from the tournament’s organization, Coach Moren specifically commented on the poor response time of medical personnel. At typical sports tournaments, EMTs and other medical personnel remain on-site in case of emergencies, but this year’s Invitational guests were not provided with such at the hotel. 

Many of the players displayed concern with such planning because of the safety risks it posed to each player. Auburn player Kharyssa Richardson received a head injury and was assisted by paramedics 40 minutes later due to the lack of medical professionals at this year’s event. 

As women’s sports continue to push for equality, the Invitational spotlights the progress that has been made. Site Coordinator Ryan Polk has since apologized, but coaches continue to push for more from the NCAA as a whole.