In an article written for the Players’ Tribune, former UMass tennis player Brittany Collens renewed her call for the NCAA to reverse course on its punishment of athletes from 2014 to 2017, which included vacating wins and an Atlantic-10 title for the women’s tennis team.
Collens, who grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, started a petition last October — when the penalties were announced — that now has over 8,500 signatures calling for the NCAA to reinstate the accomplishments of the UMass women’s tennis team in 2016 and 2017.
The program was originally penalized for a clerical error when Collens and a teammate were unknowingly reimbursed $252 for a phone line installed at their off-campus residence.
School officials self-reported the error and paid a self-imposed fine of $5,000, but the school has since paid over $100,000 in legal fees fighting the NCAA to reverse its decision to vacate the wins.
With the U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments on NCAA v. Alston — a case that could determine whether NCAA athletes can profit from the use of their name, image, and likeness, and whether the NCAA can cap educational benefits for their student-athletes — Collens renewed her calls for a reversal.
“I’m now three years removed from school, playing professional tennis,” wrote Collens. “My legacy at UMass may have been erased, but I hope to create a new one. One that, I hope, will live on forever.”
Collens says the issue is with the “flawed system” created by the NCAA.
“It fails too many young, talented athletes in our country,” she wrote. “And it has to change. There is just too much at stake. So I’m asking you, the fans, to stand up for the athletes who need you the most right now.”