Caitlin Clark’s Rookie Contract Salary Sparks Online Controversy

( – Caitlin Clark’s salary was posted online and sparked a debate about female athletes’ earnings. The 22-year-old basketball star was selected by Indiana Fever in the first round of the WNBA draft on April 15, making her the first pick of the year. Clark’s college career score of 3,951 makes her the highest NCAA Division I scorer in the history of both the men’s and women’s leagues. However, fans were stunned to learn that her starting annual salary with Indiana will be $76,535.

NBA Central published the figure on Twitter, attracting thousands of replies. Some people said Clark would be better off working 9 to 5, while others noted that she would earn many times that amount through commercial endorsements. One person wrote, “Teacher salary for a superstar is wild. The WNBA has to do better. This is unacceptable.”

Ms. Clark is largely credited with taking women’s basketball to an unprecedented level of popularity. Her games with the Iowa Hawkeyes have attracted millions of viewers—some higher than NBA finals and the World Series. When new Indiana Fevers jerseys featuring Clark’s name went on sale, they sold out in an hour. The star has secured commercial contracts with sporting giants Nike, as well as Gatorade, State Farm, and Buick, which have reportedly earned her around $3 million.

Nevertheless, many experts and commentators still maintain that women are vastly underpaid in sports. The issue often comes under the spotlight when the US women’s soccer team performs on the global stage. For example, after winning two consecutive women’s World Cup titles, the American team secured a $110,000 bonus, whereas the men would have earned $407,000 under the same circumstances.

According to Forbes, in 2022, the 25 highest-paid female sports stars earned $285 million combined. In 2023, the highest-paid male athlete was soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who earned $136 million the previous year. Experts note, however, that the combined pay for females was higher in 2022 than the year before, and increases are expected to continue.

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