Column: Players like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese won't take a pay cut in the WNBA. Stop saying they do


It’s a simple answer to a question a certain group of sports media seemingly, and very irritatingly, does not seem to grasp.

Let me make it clear. Women’s college basketball players do not take a pay cut if they declare for the WNBA Draft and turn pro. 

In fact, here is a list of players that will not take a pay cut after declaring for the WNBA Draft:

Cailtin Clark does not take a pay cut.

Angel Reese does not take a pay cut.

Cameron Brink does not take a pay cut.

Rickea Jackson does not take a pay cut.

Actually, let me save myself some time. Any player with a Name, Image and Likeness deal made while they were in the college ranks does not lose that deal just because they go pro.

Plenty of outlets question this. Most, I’m actually willing to bet all of them actually, don’t cover women’s sports on a regular basis. 

Clark will still have her endorsements from Nike, Gatorade, State Farm and Buick. Reese will still have her endorsements from Reebok and Sports Illustrated, among other deals.

They don’t go away.

One more time, they don’t go away.

The conversation about WNBA salaries is a completely different issue. Players in the WNBA are massively underpaid for their skill level.

The highest base salary the league has a max of $242,000. The WNBA agreed to a 53 percent pay raise and maternity benefits in early 2020.

Also, the WNBA has a new media and television deal that begins in 2025. It’s a contract that’s expected to be worth significantly more than previous deals. That could directly correlate with a noticeable salary bump for players across the league, but even more so for players like Clark and Reese when they negotiate their second contracts.

But, that has nothing to do with endorsement deals, which players like Clark and Reese already have and will continue to keep as their professional careers begin. Again, those endorsements won't go away when they turn pro. Honestly, they'll probably just earn more endorsement deals in their new markets.

This might be the shortest column I’ve ever written. It’s probably because there isn’t much else to say, except please stop saying incorrect things about women’s sports and women’s basketball when the same people pondering this issue are ones that have decried the sport for years.

Let me reiterate, hopefully for the last time: Women’s basketball players don’t take a pay cut when they go pro in the NIL era.

Hope this helps.


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