May 20, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Checking back in on college campuses

While most of the attention on women's basketball right now is on the WNBA, Missy Heidrick reminds listeners to pay attention to the NCAA

On the latest episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, host Missy Heidrick takes listeners back to college campuses. While most of the larger focus on women’s basketball lies on the WNBA these days, there’s still lots to unpack at the college level. Coaches are making hiring moves, bringing on new players, and preparing for busy summers of training and recruiting.

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“This is the time of year when you think college campuses might be pretty darn quiet,” Missy remarks. But for college basketball coaches, that’s not the case. Coaches are gearing up for “summer workouts, recruiting, camps, overnight visits, and continue “poring over the transfer portal on a daily basis.” Furthermore, colleges are on a bit of a carousel ride as conference realignments shake things up. Missy focuses on a few specific changes, such as Oklahoma and Texas, who will now officially going to be members of the SEC. She also highlights teams from the shrinking Pac-12, like UCLA and University of California Berkeley, who are on their way to the Big 10. Missy dives into the details of how each aforementioned school negotiated their realignment. She also analyzes what these moves could mean for each school going forward.

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Missy then moves onto discussing the financial implications of conference realignment. A big piece of this puzzle relates to, as Missy describes, “how athletes at power conference schools can be paid directly by the schools.” This brings us to a tense inflection point, as Missy explains. “We’ve always said college sports are amateur, but now we are headed into truly professional stature.” Power conference schools will reportedly be able to earmark in the vicinity of 21 million dollars to directly compensate athletes, likely starting sometime in the fall of 2025. This is very different than the “muddy waters of name, image and likeness,” Missy says, and “maybe this is progress.” Missy also describes how the NCAA will compensate for the damages owed to athletes for “use of their name, image and likeness before the NCAA made NIL payments legal back in 2021.”

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