The Student News Publication of Warren Township High School

Scratch Paper

The Student News Publication of Warren Township High School

Scratch Paper

The Student News Publication of Warren Township High School

Scratch Paper

How Has Caitlin Clark Changed Girls Basketball and Will It Stay Popular?

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It’s no secret that girls basketball has been getting an undeniable amount of attention as of late, especially at the collegiate level. Just last month, the NCAA held March Madness, a tournament of 64 school teams to decide the national champions at the Division l level. This tournament is divided into mens and womens and televised nationally every year. But, for the first time ever, the women’s championship game received more views than the mens. 4.1 million more. Additionally, ticket sales at the women’s level were historically high during the 2023-2024 season. A main reason for this is Caitlin Clark; every single Iowa girls basketball game sold out solely because of her. Caitlin Clark has revolutionized girls basketball in a very special way by showcasing her talent and consistency in the sport, usually behind the 3-point line. She recently broke the all time record of most points in a collegiate career including men and women players, passing “Pistol” Pete Marovich, sitting atop the record book with 3951 career points. Caitlin Clark has become a household name in America and she is a powerful role model for girls everywhere.

Another popular name that has brought girls basketball centerstage is graduated LSU forward, Angel Reese. In last year’s March Madness tournament when Caitlin Clark was first becoming popular, Reese and Clark faced off in the championship game with LSU ultimately winning the 2023 title. This rivalry between players and teams created an electric environment that kept fans wanting more, even the fairweather ones. One star player who missed out on the 2023 season was Paige Bueckers who will begin her 5th season at UConn this upcoming fall. And some of you readers might be wondering, a 5th season, how is that possible? The answer is Covid-19. This is because every collegiate athlete that had a year of eligibility during Covid was granted an extra year of eligibility. This is due to many sports seasons being canceled or cut short and athletes not being able to play. Paige and many other NCAA women took advantage of this opportunity so that they could continue their education while still receiving money from endorsements. 

Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark entering 2024 WNBA Draft | Reuters

WNBA and college players alike have to depend a lot of their income on these endorsements.  WNBA salaries are undeniably lower than any other professional sport in the United States, especially the NBA. The NBA’s salary cap for a team in 2024 is around $141 million, the WNBA’s, $1.46 million. Around just 1% of the men’s salary cap. This just proves how little the women get paid professionally. WNBA star, Sabrina Ionescu, has a contract worth $24 million with Nike, while her WNBA salary just barely reaches over $200,000. College players such as Bueckers who are not playing at the professional level yet can also earn these endorsement deals through NIL, defined by the NCSA as “an agreement or arrangement between a student-athlete and a third party, such as a brand, company or individual, where the student-athlete receives compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness.” 

With that being said, the 2024 WNBA draft this past week hosted all of these star players and their teammates. Many people (ourselves included) didn’t know that this draft was even televised. But, nonetheless, nearly 2.5 million people were watching. The main reason why people watched the draft was because of Caitlin Clark, who was chosen by Indiana Fever on the first pick. But what many people do not know about the WNBA is that not all draftees are guaranteed spots on the professional teams because there’s only 12 of them. Many new fans who found out about this process after the draft (ourselves included) felt they had been tricked, but this aspect of the drafting process is not old news. Just recently, in both 2023 and 2024, 36 collegiate players were drafted by the WNBA. But last year, only 15 of the draftees actually made the roster.

Situations like this have sparked recent debates about whether or not the WNBA should add more teams. In response, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelberg emphatically made a plan to expand the league by adding 4 new teams by the 2028 season, in light of new publicity. But lots of people doubt that women’s basketball will remain popular. Once athletes like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese get their professional careers started, viewership may very likely go down and the sport wont get nearly as much attention as it’s getting now. So, will it stay popular? Only time will tell…

About the Contributors
Reese Divis
Reese Divis, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Reese! I am a junior and this is my 3rd year in Scratch Paper. At Warren, I am also involved in Student Council, Students of Service, and the girls basketball team. Outside of school, I like to listen to music, cook, golf, and spend time with friends and family. I enjoy writing about sports and current events the most, but lots of topics interest me and I am excited for another great year.
Jordan Watt
Jordan Watt, Staff Writer
Hi my name is Jordan, I've played baseball, football, and bowling for Warren. I'm really big into sports and music. I love hanging out with family and friends in my free time.