Former OU women’s basketball star Stacey Dales called her decision to leave ESPN after six years "a matter of principle” and said other networks have contacted her about working for them.
In negotiating a new three-year contract in December, Dales said she reached an impasse with the network over a travel provision that she did not specify. However, an ESPN source confirmed an Internet report that Dales was unhappy with flying coach while many of her colleagues were flying first class. "At some point, you have to take a stand at whatever you are doing in life,” Dales said. "That’s not sounding like a feminist. That’s not sounding like a spoiled, rotten kid. That’s making a business decision that affects the quality of your life. That was an important thing for me.” Since joining ESPN in 2002, Dales had developed into one of the network’s top sideline reporters and provided strong analysis in the college basketball studio. "ESPN was a great launching pad for something new,” she said. "I had a great experience with them.” Dales, 29, said she was glad to end her ESPN career working with its top Saturday afternoon college football crew of Brad Nessler, Paul Maguire and Bob Griese. "It was a lot of fun with that group,” she said. A two-time All-American at OU, Dales said her playing career with the Sooners and the Washington Mystics and Chicago Sky of the WNBA benefited her as a sideline reporter. "I was able to use my experience as an athlete to gauge momentum shifts in a game,” she said.