Saturday September 30, 2023

Swoopes: College Players Making More Than WNBA Players Problematic

  • LSU's Angel Reese said her earnings surpass what she’d make with the WNBA’s $70,000 minimum annual salary.
  • NBA champion Richard Hamilton said he would have stayed at UConn for four years if he had access to NIL.
Swoopes is concerned with NIL's impact on sports.
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Sheryl Swoopes — the first female athlete with a signature shoe, Nike’s Air Swoopes — is questioning the economics of women’s basketball as NIL potentially makes it more lucrative to play in college than the pros. 

“I think it’s sad when college players are making more money than a professional WNBA player, it doesn’t make sense to me,” the first-ever WNBA player to be signed said. 

Swoopes’ remarks come following a recent report about how the WNBA will pull in between $180 million to $200 million this year — up from $102 million in 2019 — but the players’ base salaries (as a share of total revenue) actually lowered to about 9.3% in 2022.

The WNBA has attempted to rectify compensation under its new CBA with increased base pay, a $500K Commissioner’s Cup tournament, bonuses, league marketing deals, and team marketing among other initiatives.

The Basketball Hall of Famer spoke on a panel alongside former NBA star Richard Hamilton and top high school basketball recruits Kendall Dudley and Bryson Tucker, who participated in the Jr. NBA’s Court of Leaders mentorship program.

Former Miami players and NIL earning stars Haley and Hanna Cavinder already announced they won’t play professionally, while LSU’s Angel Reese — who has more than 17 NIL deals — said her earnings surpass what she’d make with the WNBA’s $70,000 minimum annual salary.

“What’s it going to be like for her when she does enter the WNBA and become a professional athlete?” Swoopes said of Reese. 

Hamilton, a 2004 NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons, said he would have stayed all four years at UConn had NIL been available.

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