Making a difference with “Let Her Play”

An inside look at how Shanel Bramschreiber is trying to overcome NCAA rules.

Collegiate sports are very competitive, are in high demand at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and have a lot of importance to the athletes that participate in them. Shanel Bramschreiber, a Division 1 volleyball player, is a perfect example. She is a former Baylor University libero/defensive specialist who transferred to UW Madison. 

Bramschreider is currently in the light in the collegiate volleyball world due to her violating NCAA rules. To break the rules, she contacted and hired an agent to explore professional overseas opportunities that she could potentially fulfill. She then entered the transfer portal by taking advantage of the COVID-19 season and went back to college. 

When Bramschreiber pursued these actions, she was not cleared by the NCAA to play. However, she was training with the UW-Madison team during the preseason and summer. This caused the NCAA to decide that she would sit out 50% of the games of the season. 

In an interview with UW-Madison, Volleyball Coach Kelly Sheffield mentions how strong of a student-athlete Bramschreiber is and how her “decision to explore a professional career and is being penalized unfairly for deciding that continuing her education and collegiate playing career was in her best interest.” 

Bramschreiber is very well respected by her teammates, coaches, and almost everyone. People are stunned to see her being penalized like this. Her skill and agility set her apart from other athletes, which is why this punishment hurts not only her but also her teammates. Taking her career to the professional level is difficult, considering the difference in respect levels between women’s and men’s sports, which is assumed to be another factor in this specific situation. 

Bramschreiber’s legal representative, Victoria Tomas, expresses how there could be inequity in the rules “in this specific instance, Shanel plays volleyball, and in order to be a professional volleyball player you have to take your opportunities overseas.” 

The unfairness has struck the hearts of many people, which is why Bramschreiber took it upon herself to make a petition and start the “Let Her Play” movement. This movement and petition support athletic eligibility and the elimination of NCAA agents by laws. 

Bramschreiber is not allowed to play 14 games and has now missed 10 of those. If Bramschreiber’s petition does not get the attention it needs, she will officially be out of half of the season, and the NCAA will continue to do this to other college athletes.