Daisha Simmons is a Jersey City resident enrolled in graduate classes at Seton Hall, practicing with the women’s basketball team five days a week and taking her ill brother for dialysis appointments.
Still, she will not be able to play for the Pirates this season due to a barrier put up by her former school, the University of Alabama.
“I hope Alabama takes the next step to support my playing,” said Simmons, who averaged 13.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for Alabama last season. “I feel they’ve been unfair.”
Simmons, a former prep star at Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone, N.J., played her freshman season at Rutgers before transferring to Alabama. She played there, earned an undergraduate degree and decided to transfer to be closer to home this offseason. She is enrolled at Seton Hall, and taking courses toward an MBA. She is on scholarship and can practice with the Pirates, but cannot participate in games.
Alabama has blocked her from playing at Seton Hall because the school can’t replace her scholarship, but the NCAA issued a compromise recently, allowing Simmons to fulfill her final season of eligibility next year − in 2015-16. Still, Simmons wants to play now.
“This shouldn’t be happening,” Simmons said.
“Given the timing that she wanted to transfer left little or no time for the women’s basketball team to make alternate plans to replace her,” Alabama director of athletics Bill Battle wrote in a letter to the Asbury Park Press explaining Alabama’s refusal.