There is some wild news in the college basketball world this week coming from the North Carolina Central University women’s basketball team. According to a report from local news affiliate, ABC 11, NCCU head coach Trish Stafford-Odom made the surprising decision to cut 10 of the 14 players on the roster.
North Carolina Central finished this season with a 9-21 record and has yet to secure a winning record since 2007.
The players were very puzzled by Stafford-Odom’s decision.
“It’s not like a football team where there are 80 people and you cut 10,” junior guard Dominique Adams told the outlet. “There’s 14 of us, and 10 won’t be back next year. That doesn’t add up. We didn’t do anything wrong.”
Sami Oliver-Alexander, a junior forward for the Eagles, was equally as confused by the decision.
“Yes you’re there for basketball but you’re also there to graduate,” Oliver-Alexander, a junior from California, adds. “So to cut people that are about to graduate literally on the cusp of graduating is … why? At that point you’re messing with people’s futures.”
Along with Adams and Oliver-Alexander, players who were informed they were being cut are F Alyssa Thompson, G Jada Blow, Adams, G Jayla Calhoun, C Deja McCain, F Darria Hewitt, C Ezinne Mbamalu and F Kayla Hall.
A number of players are set to challenge the decision by their coach, while others are accepting the decision and will simply transfer from the university. According to a statement provided to ABC11 by the university, the decision was solely Stafford-Odom’s and they believe it is well within her right to make the decision.
The statement read:
“The decision to cancel, reduce or renew a student-athlete’s scholarship award is within the purview and discretion of a coach. The university also carefully complies with its obligations as per NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124, providing notification to student-athletes about a reduction or non-renewal of their annual scholarship by the required July 1 deadline. Student-athletes whose scholarships are cancelled, reduced or not renewed may appeal the decision in accordance with NCCU’s scholarship appeal process for all scholarship recipients at the university.”
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but it will surely reignite the discussion about whether players should be forced to sit out a year if they transfer.