STANFORD, Calif. (KRON) – While coronavirus numbers continue to rise across the country, college basketball is scheduled to start at the end of November.

Stanford senior Maya Dodson made the tough decision to sit this season out.

Dodson says the basketball court has always been her happy place.

But this year she says even basketball couldn’t block out the chaos from the pandemic.

“One of my family members ended up having COVID. They’re okay now, but I think it’s different when you realize firsthand how serious COVID is,” said Dodson.

Dodson says the Black Lives Matter movement also has impacted her deeply.

“After George Floyd’s killing that’s something that really woke me up. I went protesting with my brother a couple of times and realized this is something that is always going to affect me as a young black woman,” said Dodson.

She says both of those factors lead her to make the tough decision to opt-out of her final Cardinal basketball season.

Dodson says she took the lead from her heroes in the WNBA, some of whom opted out of playing in the WNBA bubble.

“So kind of seeing there are two different ways of going or handling this, and I felt like going through it that the best decision for me was to take some time off, take some time to re-center myself think of what I want to do,” said Dodson.

Dodson says only 7% of Stanford students identify as black, and she’s working to make there are enough resources and support available.

“Especially since I have a platform as a Stanford women’s basketball and I have a lot of young girls and people looking up to me. So realizing that is something I want to make sure I’m intentional about,” said Dodson.

Dodson tells us she’ll miss her teammates terribly this winter, but she hopes her voice can make waves for change.

“Just think about why this is, how does systemic racism come into play’ cause often times systemic racism and oppression are not through outward racist policies that you can tell on the surface. So that’s one thing I hope people take away from this, think critically, and take it one more step,” said Dodson.

Dodson is helping start a new organization called Cardinal Black, designed to support Black student-athletes.

KRON 4 also talked with Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach Tara Vanderveer. She says she and the team completely support Maya’s decision.

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