Angel Reese’s popularity in the college basketball world has continuously soared after she helped LSU to a national title back in April.
According to Reese, her celebrity status means that is no longer safe or practical for her to attend classes in person. Instead, she has been relegated to attending remotely or taking purely online classes. “I didn’t think I was going to be on Shade Room every time I post something. I don’t feel like I’m a celebrity, but I think a lot of people look at me as a celebrity now because of the impact I’ve had on not just women’s basketball, but sports in general, and Black women. Things have changed for me.”
However, Reese lamented the change to her schedule, stating that “School’s first, basketball’s next.” Despite this, she also confirmed that her intention was to play in the WNBA. Reese will be eligible for the 2024 Draft and is widely considered to be the #2 pick behind Caitlin Clark. But all this is in service of her family. “My mom is my rock,” Reese added. “Everything I do is just for her and my brother.”
Reese is not the only LSU athlete who has been forced away from physically attending class. Gymnast and social media star Olivia Dunne also recently revealed that she can no longer attend her classes in person. According to a July interview with Elle, Dunne cited “safety reasons” as why she can no longer attend in person. “There were some scares in the past, and I just want to be as careful as possible. I don’t want people to know my daily schedule and where I am,” Dunne said. Rowdy fans and misogynist trolls make it easy to see why LSU now employs private security for the gymnastics team. “I just want to coach. I don’t want to have my head on a swivel worried about if somebody is coming out of the stands,” Head Coach Jay Clark told Elle.
College athletes find themselves in a spotlight never before seen. Social media can turn them into a figure watched by millions. Meanwhile, the ability to now earn money in college through NIL deals now also makes them publicly seen brand figures. However, you can’t help but feel for these athletes as their fame and commitments reduces the scope of the “college” aspect of being a “college athlete”.