Sedona Prince, the Oregon forward who last year used the power of social media to highlight the inadequacy of the NCAA’s setup for the women’s basketball tournament, announced on Saturday that she’s going to stay at Oregon next season and begin a masters program.
Basketball-wise, Prince is in an interesting position. She lost a year to injury and another to transfer rules after going from Texas to Oregon, so while this is her fourth year of college, it’s only her second season playing NCAA basketball. She’s been part of a gold medal-winning Team USA at last year’s FIBA AmeriCup, and it’s not hard to see her as at least a rotation player in the WNBA.
But, if you’re at a school you love, can further your education, and can maintain a brand for NIL deals, it makes plenty of sense to stay there a while over a league where a future Hall of Famer will make less this year than your average IT manager.
Prince has the eligibility to stay at Oregon, but a lot of athletes don’t have a situation like that. For all the talk about doing what’s best for student athletes, it’s time to drop the four-year structure of college sports.
Most athletes, like most students, will always do their four-to-five years of college and then leave when they get their degree, or sooner. But so long as someone is enrolled and engaged as a student at a school, why shouldn’t they be able to continue playing sports?
The objection is that teams would abuse the system and use NIL money to get players who might not be pro quality, but can play well at the college level, and enroll them in endless doctorate programs. And if they did, so what? Who is harmed by Prince’s new Oregon classmate, Bo Nix, criss-crossing the country for the next 15 years and collecting various postgraduate degrees while tossing a football around every Saturday?
It’s great for everyone that Prince is sticking around Eugene. Everyone who wants to should be able to have the same opportunity.