Basketball: Edinburgh University ‘disappointed’ as Rocks are handed Caledonia Pride franchise

Edinburgh University have admitted disappointment after their bid to take over Caledonia Pride was rejected.

By Mark Woods
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 7:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 7:57 pm

Instead, Scotland’s only Women’s British Basketball League franchise has effectively been sold by Basketball Scotland, the sport’s governing body, to Cumbernauld-based Lady Rocks.

The WBBL has approved the switch for next season, with the team expected to be renamed Caledonia Rocks.

However, the decision to reject a rival offer – backed by one of Pride’s existing sponsors – which would have kept the side in Edinburgh is set to spark a mass exodus of the squad which reached last month’s WBBL Playoff semi-finals after a highest-ever league finish of sixth, with most of the players tied into university scholarships in the capital.

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American guard Taylor Edwards proved to be a particularly dogged defender for a Caledonia Pride team that ended the WBBL campaign with the league's best perimeter defence. Picture: Mansoor Ahmed / WBBL

“As one of the founding partners of Pride, we are naturally disappointed with this outcome,” Edinburgh University said. “We are proud of everything achieved over the past seven years by the coaches, players, officials and volunteers associated with Pride. From providing a pathway for players to represent both Scotland and GB, to reaching the WBBL playoff semi-finals for the first time this season.

“Our focus is now the wellbeing of the university students and staff, and others, impacted by this decision. We will be working with them to ensure they receive the support they need. We wish Rocks the very best for the future.”

Lady Rocks, who have loose ties with BBL outfit Glasgow Rocks, are understood to have attracted investors prepared to construct a dedicated home for Pride as well as the club’s other teams, with a promise to “maintain and ensure the development and continued playing opportunities for Scottish players”.

Pride head coach Bart Sengers is believed to be undecided on whether to pursue the same role at what will effectively be a new start-up.

Stephen Ferguson, Basketball Scotland chairman, said: “Pride was founded by Basketball Scotland based upon the belief a professional franchise in Scotland would benefit talented female athletes.

“It has always been our intention the franchise should one day stand alone, grow and thrive. We firmly believe Lady Rocks’ vision and financial backing will help the franchise achieve its potential.”