Ballin’ in a Ballroom


Indiana Hoosiers Women’s Basketball Coach Teri Moren

Eli Thompson, Writer

The Las Vegas Invitational is a Women’s basketball tournament that was played Nov. 25-26. This tournament played a significant role in the sports world, not because of the talent on the court or because of an amazing play, but because of the location and atmosphere of the tournament.

Some of the best teams in the country such as Indiana, Auburn, Memphis, Wisconsin, and other Division I teams were forced to play in a hotel ballroom. This was a major problem and not because it was unsafe or had insufficient lighting, but because if it was men’s basketball, a hotel would be the last place they played.

“We have an obligation to grow our game, and we completely missed on this opportunity because you have a lot of really good teams here… but this was a major miss,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said in an interview with ESPN. 

As a coach, the frustration that has to come from telling your team that you have to play in a hotel ballroom is upsetting and a huge letdown for not only the team but for sports as a whole. 

“This is not what was described to us as far as what the venue was going to look like,” Moren said. 

Site director, Ryan Polk, told ESPN that he apologized for what happened and that was confirmed by Moren. The court was set up in a large ballroom with no spectator bleachers, but instead very few chairs that were mostly used by the media.

Indiana is ranked #6 in the country and has many star players. They are currently undefeated and are some of the most talented basketball players in the country, so the fact they couldn’t even fit bleachers in the ballroom is a tough blow to college basketball as a whole. The opportunity was missed because we will probably never see a top #25 ranked team play in this tournament again.

“It kind of shocked me… right away it gave me AAU vibes. I remember playing in ballrooms like that. I couldn’t believe that was a college game being played like that. I just think we need to do better,” Uconn player Azzi Fudd said during a post-tournament press conference.

The number of voices from around college basketball being heard from this disaster of an event shows how disappointing it is for these players. The players are worth more than they are being treated and deserve better.

Women’s sports have always been overlooked because of a lack of revenue and interest, but that gives no reason to blatantly lie about the aesthetics of the event. The conditions that the players, coaches, and school had to play in were degrading to the women that played in the tournament. 

This tournament had a lot of potential and was going to be a great way for these players to showcase their skill but I, like others, would consider this a major miss for Women’s college basketball, and a colossal letdown for sports.