I think FFG has the wiggle room to rule any dang way they want for The Professor and universal influence.
Whether the Professor gets free access to one copy of MWL’d programs is a big deal, particularly with regard to:
Yog.0: which seems great with Baba Yaga, which seems great with The Professor, because when you are building a Baba Yaga deck why wouldn’t you want to pick from all programs influence free for the perfect Baba Yaga.
D4v1d: Huge influence costs, great with Scavenge, nice card to cobble a rig together with.
Parasite: Probably a lot less important since The Professor doesn’t have access to 3x Clone Chip anymore, but Parasite is a really nice answer to problem ice.
The other two programs, Lady and Faust, probably aren’t as big of a deal.
As for reasons to still play The Professor, there are a few:
Reaver: Reaver is so perfect for The Professor. You’ve filled your deck with a bunch of cool programs so draw is extra exciting. But influence gets very tight jamming in a 4-influence program, and The Professor doesn’t care about some things.
Baba Yaga: You’d probably want to spend your one influence on Yog.0 if you are going this route, but being able to cobble together a perfect ICEbreaker seems very fun when you don’t have to worry about influence.
Surprise Sneakdoor Betas: The most prominent recent Professor lists haven’t really played Sneakdoor, but this is still a hilarious trick to have at your disposal out of Shaper.
Hivemind: Just kidding, this is awful. I apologize.
Anyway, I guess if you are trying to build a functional Professor deck, I’d probably lean a little heavier on the Test Run-Scavenge combo. Scavenge is such a joy in the mid to late game in a Professor deck, when your heap is full of options.
I agree things are dire, but teetering at the edge of incomprehensibly unplayable is not somewhere The Professor hasn’t been before.