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Caitlin Clark is unbelievable, but will NIL make her stay in school?

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz discussed the Hawkeyes’ star’s future and whether NIL could keep her spurn the WNBA for a little longer.

Caitlin Clark hit a significant career milestone on Wednesday night and The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz had to talk about it.

Yes, not only did Clark score her 3,000th career point against Iowa State, not only was she the fastest ever to reach that mark, but it gets even more impressive than just that.

As Lucy says, what didn’t happen with Caitlin Clark?

As Lucy notes, like most other Iowa road games, this one was sold out largely because of the spectacle that is Caitlin Clark. Given all of the stats she’s accumulating, Lucy feels like at this point they’re making up new stats for Clark because she is breaking records LEFT AND RIGHT! And honestly? Not even her best game. There, Lucy said it.

Clark is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the next WNBA Draft, but Lucy is hopeful that the NIL money is enough to keep Clark at Iowa for another season. Although, as Lucy notes, Clark has said she’s playing this season as if it’s her last with the Hawkeyes. But, it doesn’t shut the door. Think of Lucy, Caitlin!

But Dan wants to know — can NIL and Iowa come together to convince Caitlin that she can make just as much, if not more, while remaining in college for another year and putting off her entry into the WNBA? Especially given how big women’s college basketball is becoming.

Lucy says that’s definitely a thing, with LSU’s Angel Reese saying she’s in no rush to get to the W and is making more money in college. Lucy says it’s not unfathomable that Iowa’s NIL could make up that WNBA salary. For example, if during the commercial breaks of Clark’s Iowa game she was STILL on the TV in State Farm commercials. She’s making so much money, Lucy points out and she’s so happy for her and she deserves every penny!

Jessica does want to take a step back and remind everyone that some of the top stars in the WNBA still have huge endorsement deals. So it’s not like you can’t make endorsement deals once you go pro. Jessica understands that people compare the NIL deals to the salaries in the WNBA, which she agrees are lower than what you would hope for and could potentially change in their next labor deal, but stars playing in the WNBA are still making endorsement deals. She does think that women’s college basketball, in the last year or so, has gotten more eyeballs on it and more excitement around it. Not that the WNBA hasn’t, she said, but the WNBA could improve there. Still, Jessica says it’s not like you could make a 1-to-1 comparison.

Mike jumps in as a recent women’s college basketball convert, noting that he’s not really interested in making the jump to the WNBA. He just favor the college game right now — he quite enjoys the game and he thinks it feels like a much bigger deal and he doesn't understand why the marketing is so much better for the college game. He says the WNBA environments he’s seen have seemed a little antiseptic while the women’s college hoops environments have seem like really interesting crowds that are super into the game and it is just more of a fun watch for him.

Jessica thinks that maybe there’s something for people who already have a college allegiance to easily hop on a bandwagon and maybe if you haven't been watching the WNBA you find it harder to figure out who to root for. But, Jessica wants to make it clear that the WNBA is doing very well with crowd engagement, with the Liberty having a great home environment, drawing big crowds and making a deep playoff run this past season. So she doesn’t think you could make blanket statements about the W vs. women’s college basketball, nor does she think there is much value in pitting them against each other. She just wants everyone to remember that as we talk about women’s hoopers staying an extra year in college for the NIL bag, it’s also happening in college football too.

Lucy thinks the big question is can these university collectives match that salary, because Clark is going to have brand deals wherever she goes. Lucy says she’s the most recognizable face is all of college sports right now, so she’ll always have that State Farm money (thanks, Jake from State Farm!). So it becomes: Is the Iowa collective willing to make up enough difference with the WNBA salary compared to what she could get from them. Lucy also points out that it’s worth remembering that Caitlin is not a normal college student and we don’t really know if she’s enjoying that college experience. Lucy thinks that eventually the interest in women’ college basketball and fans of players like Clark, Reese and UConn’s Paige Bueckers will follow these stars as they matriculate into the WNBA. Lucy will follow Caitlin TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH! Don’t test her!

Meanwhile, Dan made some sartorial choices on Thursday and everyone had a little fun with it ...


Local Hour: Dan, The Divorced Dad

  • Dan is not wearing a hat and IS wearing a flannel for today’s show, and *someone* is dressed as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (and holding an Emmy). Then, the crew has a conversation about gambling regulations for broadcasters and team partners and the ease of betting and how it can influence the ethics behind individual games as Dan questions where this is all headed. Plus, Lucy is a Top 24 College Football personality, the Steelers and Patriots game is a comedy, and small towns may be better equipped for the NIL era.

The Big Suey: I’m Just a Girl

  • Jim Larrañaga joins the show to discuss the Canes Basketball program, why he loves teaching, Hamilton the Musical, the evolution of basketball, and more. Then, Jessica and Lucy are late for Segment 2 and they’re in HUGE trouble with Dan. That said, Jess has brought new energy to the show, and Lucy has a great excuse. Plus, Adnan Virk and David Samson are here to discuss their Top 5 War Movies, but first, David is upset with being an afterthought at this company.

Hour 1: Stat of the Day (Taylor’s Version)

  • Caitlin Clark continues to blow us all away, and Lucy leads our crew’s excitement over her superstardom. This sparks a conversation on NIL and its influence over whether or not stars like Caitlin Clark might stay in college. Then, we give our producer Taylor Vippolis an on-air platform for Stat of the Day, but will his nerves force him to mess everything up? Wait to see... Plus, Dan is a ramblin’ man again, we may have an early Suey nominee, and Zach Wilson’s face may be his biggest issue.

Hour 2: Minute Kimes Show pt. 2

  • Mina Kimes is back and might be delivering her analysis in song, with speed, or...normally. She takes us through all the fun topics of the NFL including Aaron Rodgers, Zach Wilson, Jake Browning, the Ravens, and Dan’s outfit. Plus, the Cesta Cyclones are ready for the primetime as they have a huge matchup coming up, Lucy is ready for Army-Navy, and the Victor Wembanyama-Jaime Jaquez Jr. debate takes shape.

Postgame Show: An Apology to Dan

  • It’s time to laugh at the new Jim Harbaugh contract proposal and apologize to Dan for making fun of his outfit.


Check out the Le Batard and Friends YouTube page for more and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow the show on X at @LeBatardShow.

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