The WNBA needs to do better

TRAVIS DAVID

Sports editor

Last week during Final Four press conferences, Notre Dame Women's Head Coach Muffet McGraw once again let the sporting world know where she stands with women's equality in not only athletics, but in the corporate world.

Good for her.

Since the passing of the legendary Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach Pat Summitt, McGraw has gradually became the face and more importantly the voice of the women's game.

Although I do not agree with all of her points, something needs to be done.

First, let me go back and clarify on what I do not agree with.

McGraw has stated she will never hire a male to her coaching staff and asked the question "why can't we have 99 percent of coaches in our game to be women?"

That's where I disagree.

To me, the most qualified candidate should be hired to lead a program and also be hired to fill the assistant positions as well.

The gender of the candidate should not matter. If 99 percent of the female candidates are better qualified then so be it, but to simply choose not to hire someone based on gender is not right. And it works on both sides of the fence, not just in the women's game.

Just as race should not matter.

If I am running a company, I want the best of the best regardless of gender, race, etc.

Anyway, back to the main point of this space.

As I type this, the WNBA draft is just moments away.

The Las Vegas Aces have

see wnba/page b3

the No. 1 pick in the draft which by the time they make their selection it will be just less than 72 hours after the conclusion of the women's college season.

This is unacceptable.

Even moreso, is the pressure put on Princeton grad Jackie Young.

Playing in Sunday night's championship game, Young was given just 24 hours after the game went final to make arguably the biggest decision of her life.

Being a junior who turns 22 in the same calendar year as the draft made Young eligible.

With her family on the road traveling back to Princeton from Tampa, FL and Young with her Notre Dame teammates, Young made the decision to enter the draft without being able to consult with her entire family.

Young's mother Linda was still on the road when she learned Jackie decided to forego her senior season at Notre Dame.

I have obviously never had to make such a life-altering decision, but given the ability and opportunity I would think I would need more than 24 hours to come to a sound decision.

Granted, Young has had the entire season to think about whether or not she would go pro, but playing at a big-time program such as Notre Dame, her main focus was on defending their national championship.

College football and men's basketball players do not have this ridiculously miniscule amount of time to make such a decision.

So why should women's college basketball players have such little time for such a life-impacting decision?

The average annual salary for a player in the WNBA is just over $51,000.

To put that into perspective the average annual tuition for an undergrad student at the University of Notre Dame is also just over $51,000 per year.

Many players also head over seas to play ball and pad their earnings a little and some of the top tier players also earn more through sponsorships.

As I am putting the finishing touches on this column -- and just moments after getting off the phone with Las Vegas Aces Head Coach Bill Laimbeer -- Young was indeed selected by Laimbeer and the Aces with the No. 1 overall selection.

So the decision to go pro seems to already being paying off for Young, financially, but it still does not replace the fact a change in the system needs to take place.

Congrats to Jackie and all of her family.

Notre Dame's loss for one final season is without a shadow of a doubt, the gain for Las Vegas and the entire WNBA.

Travis David is the Daily Clarion Sports Editor and can be reached at 812-220-4843 or at sports@pdclarion.com. Follow him on Twitter @PDCprepsports and @Tdavid_21.

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