Sedona Prince was a McDonald's All-American while playing at Liberty Hill High School. [Stephen Spillman/for Statesman]

BEVO BEAT Women's Basketball

NCAA’s denial of Sedona Prince’s immediate eligibility draws strong criticism from Oregon, fans

Former Longhorn had transferred to Oregon in July, hoping to play immediately

Posted December 12th, 2019

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Story highlights
  • Post player had surgery twice after breaking her leg in a game in August 2018
  • All-American guard Sabrina Ionescu among those who blasted NCAA over decision
Sedona Prince, who never played a minute for Texas, had her appeal for instant eligibility at Oregon denied by NCAA (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/USAB)

The NCAA’s decision to deny former Texas post Sedona Prince eligibility to play this season at the University of Oregon has created a firestorm on social media.

Oregon All-America guard Sabrina Ionescu said she was “sad” to hear the news on her Twitter page. Oregon basketball coach Kelly Graves said he is “very disappointed” in the NCAA. The decision was also blasted by ESPN analyst and former Duke basketball star Jay Bilas, who called it “absurd.”

Prince, a 6-7 McDonald’s All-American while at Liberty Hill High School, never played for the Longhorns. She had multiple surgeries following a broken leg she suffered in August 2018 and missed her freshman season. She transferred to Oregon in July for medical reasons, telling the podcast “Pour Your Heart Out” she felt “very unsafe” at Texas.

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Prince applied for an NCAA waiver for immediate eligibility at Oregon for 2019-2020 season but was denied. Prince appealed the decision and was denied again.

“Although I am deeply saddened by the NCAA’s decision, I am so blessed to be surrounded by my amazing teammates and coaches,” Prince wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “There is no other school in the country I would rather play for, and I can’t express enough gratitude for everything Oregon has done for me.

“Also, know that I will use this as fuel. And continue to grow and get stronger and learn everyday from the best players in the country. I can’t wait to suit up next year and play the game that I love with all my heart.”

In the meantime, she has received support from fans and players.

This tweet from Ionescu, perhaps the best player in women’s basketball, was retweeted more than 300 times in less than 24 hours: “Sad to have to see Sedona sit out a second year in a row, because the (NCAA) doesn’t want to do what’s in the best interest of student athletes. I’m hoping this is the start to positive change being made by those in charge, who quite frankly, can switch jobs with no repercussions.”

Graves was also disappointed by the NCAA’s decision.

“We are obviously very disappointed in the decision made by the NCAA,” he said. “We felt that we submitted a strong case and believed Sedona was deserving of the opportunity to play immediately. …If this case doesn’t merit relief, I don’t know what does.”

Prince was the No. 8 ranked recruit in the nation in the class of 2018, and was the Texas Girls Coaches Association Basketball Athlete of the Year (Classes 1A-4A) after averaging 22.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game as a senior.

Prince also received support from Bilas, one of the premier voices for ESPN men’s basketball: “ An absurd decision by the NCAA. Sedona Prince should be playing, immediately. Athlete welfare? The NCAA doesn’t live up to its rhetoric. #FREESEDONA

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