Stanford star Cameron Brink shared that the added travel with moving to the ACC contributed to her entering the WNBA Draft. Photo Credit: Nicole Mullen/The Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK Cardinals forward Cameron Brink (22) at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe on Jan. 26, 2024. Photo Credit: Nicole Mullen/The Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK

An inescapable drawback of the forthcoming conference realignment is that it will create significantly more travel. While that’s a relatively minor concern in football, where teams play once a week, it’s a sizable inconvenience for other sports. And it might have cost NCAA women’s basketball one of its top stars.

Cameron Brink announced in March that she would forego her final season at Stanford and enter the 2024 WNBA Draft. On Friday, she was a guest on The Bird and Taurasi Show, an alternate broadcast of the Final Four matchup between South Carolina and North Carolina State. While there, Brink opened up about her decision. Among the reasons cited was the added travel that will come with Stanford’s move to the ACC.

“I think the biggest thing was I kind of felt like I had a lot of gaps to fill in,” she said. “But, you know, I feel I can still learn as a rookie and being a rookie, there is a learning curve. So, I’m looking forward to just giving myself grace and accepting that it will be a building year for me. So, I think I’m kind of tired of school. Stanford is no joke. So, as much as I love my coaching staff and my teammates, I don’t want to travel across the country.”

Certainly, it’s not just about the travel. Brink will have road trips in the WNBA. But given Stanford’s location on the West Coast and its high academic standards combine to make the move to the ACC particularly tough. It’s easy to understand why she’d want to alleviate at least some of that.

Expect to hear similar comments from athletes and coaches — particularly those not in football — once the realignment begins.

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