As her senior year approaches, UMKC basketball player Justice Collins has joined the newly formed NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Advancement Committee.
Collins was appointed to the eight-member committee last week, and she is the first and only student-athlete on board.
“I know they’re going to expect a lot,” Collins said. “But I feel, especially with my personality, that it would be really difficult for me to be silent.”
The committee, according to a news release, will “develop a strategic plan intended to grow the game of women’s basketball” by reviewing athlete and fan experiences, ticket sales and TV ratings.
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Collins first heard about the committee from Marlon Edge, an assistant commissioner with the Western Athletic Conference. Edge asked Collins if she would be interested, and she responded enthusiastically.
“Women’s basketball has always been something I was passionate about,” she said. “Since I was able to (play), I was on the court.”
From there, Collins was chosen among other Division I women’s basketball players to join the committee and promote a sport that she says doesn’t get as much respect as it deserves.
One of the biggest hurdles for women’s basketball is its constant comparison to the men’s game, Collins said. While men and women can be compared statistically, it’s unfair to compare them physically, she said. These players put in the same amount of hours, “but you’re not going to see girls out there dunking like in men’s games, you’re just not.”
“I won’t say it’s intimidating, but it’s intimidating,” Collins said, laughing.
This isn’t her first time being a part of something she considers bigger than herself.
“I’ve been on the Women’s Center Advisory Committee here on campus, and I’m the only student-athlete — the only student in general — on the committee,” she said.
As a member of the advancement committee, Collins hopes she can use her valuable voice “to inspire girls to want to play sports and keep developing the game.”