NCAA and Power 5 schools agree to pay college athletes, settling antitrust cases

By Lindsay Burke

The tide in college athletics is rapidly changing. The NCAA along with the power five conferences have approved a deal that would allow schools to pay their athletes directly, and it would resolve three antitrust cases. 

The payout not only includes current and future college athletes, but former ones as well. 

This new deal between the NCAA and its conferences will include the House vs NCAA ruling where former athletes sued the NCAA for use of their names, image and likeness that resulted in revenue for the university. 

According to the Washington Post, this settlement includes $2.8 billion in damages. 

NIL has played a significant role in recruiting for NCAA athletics, including athletes that enter the transfer portal who still seek pay despite changing schools. 

These changes to college athletics were a long time coming, but inevitable with the revenue that major athletic departments bring in each year. 

To put this in a clearer perspective, large athletic powerhouses such as Ohio State ($280 million) and Alabama ($200 million) for example, generated record numbers in revenue during the 2023 year.

The deal between the NCAA and its conferences means that athletes will also receive a cut of money that their schools receive from broadcasting rights along with ticket sales and sponsorships. 

Many would agree that this has been a long time coming for the NCAA given the fact that schools for years have made money off their athletes. 

Despite the agreement being reached, there are many steps that still need to be taken in order for it to be finalized. 

The NCAA is very much a part of a nonstop era and will be closely watched over the next several months to see what change is coming to sports across the country. 

Clark, Fever Still Seeking First Win after Road Loss to Experienced Liberty Team

By Lindsay Burke

In front of a sold out crowd at the Barclays Center, the Fever’s 91-80 loss to last year’s championship runner up, the New York Liberty, didn’t bring all negatives. 

After struggling in all phases their first two games, the Fever played a much cleaner game Saturday that brought more points for Caitlin Clark and fewer turnovers as a team. 

Clark finished the game with 22 points and 8 assists after a slow start to her WNBA career. 

Others stepped up on offense including veterans Aliyah Boston and Kelsey Mitchell who combined for 29 points. 

“That’s going to be my biggest focus going forward, just come out and compete and play hard. I think our whole group did that {today},” said Clark following the game.

The Fever are facing growing pains that come with new, young talent but have a great mix of experience on their squad that will help bring it all together. 

Another key member, Erica Wheeler, has embraced the leadership role in helping Clark and others transition into the WNBA.

“She’s trying to show her what this league is about and help her be as successful as she can be for us and for our team,” said head coach Christie Sides. 

 It was very evident following just their third game of the season that the Fever are taking strides in becoming a strong unit and one that can compete this season in a competitive league. 

The Fever return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse Monday for a matchup with the Connecticut Sun at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN. 

Five Bold Predictions for the 2024 Indiana Fever

By Lindsay Burke

All eyes will be on the Indiana Fever for the upcoming 2024 season. With the much anticipated addition of generational phenom Caitlin Clark, much excitement surrounds this organization.

Clark and the Fever will play their home opener tonight at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. They will face fifth year veteran Sabrina Ionesccu and the New York Liberty at 7:00 p.m. ET. Fans can watch the game live on Amazon Prime Video.

Clark will win Rookie of the Year

Clark brings multiple records and NCAA honors with her to Indianapolis. One bold prediction comes based on Clark’s resume as she is an early favorite for the 2024 Rookie of the Year award.

There is something so eye-catching that puts spectators in awe when seeing her casual half court baskets, her hustle and grit. All eyes are on Clark, as her jerseys sold out in an hour after being drafted number one overall. 

Adding Clark to an already talented Fever team brings high stakes as she teams up with last year’s number one overall pick, Aliyah Boston.

The Fever will make the Postseason

The attention didn’t just stop at Clark going number one overall. Let’s not forget the team did also add the 2024 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Celeste Taylor out of Ohio State with the 15th overall selection. Taylor brings a strong passion for full court press and team leading number of steals from her final collegiate season to the Fever. 

This prediction is significant to players, coaches and fans alike because if successful, it will be the first time the Fever have reached the postseason since 2017. 

In order to have an understanding of the anticipation surrounding this upcoming season, this year’s WNBA draft drew in over 2 million viewers. In years past, the draft averaged between 600,000 to 800,000 viewers. 

Attendance Records will be Set  

With massive attention surrounding the franchise, the spike in attendance for the Fever is inevitable. Making this prediction even more bold – the Fever will sell out the season. 

Much talk has surrounded enforcing the WNBA to approve that teams throughout the league move all upcoming games to larger arenas due to the ticket demands. The Fever however won’t have this problem as they still get to call Gainbridge Fieldhouse, also home to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, their arena.

Average ticket costs doubled in price after Clark declared for the draft. Vivid Seats also reported that preseason tickets have even seen a staggering increase in price, almost tripling in cost.

The Fever will have 36 of their 40 games nationally televised. This comes after having just one game nationally televised during the entire 2023 season. 

Clark will Break Numerous Records in Rookie Season

Caitlin Clark already claimed the title for all time leading scorer in points in the NCAA for both men’s and women’s basketball, and the expectation is that these stellar skills will translate to the professional level. 

After being the recipient of the Wooden Award and National Player of the Year in her final season as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes, Clark continues to set the bar higher for herself. Her nature is simply that, always be a competitor. 

The WNBA is a different pace and Clark will see a totally different style of play. Records aren’t the most important thing, but they can leave a lasting impact for generations to come. She set the pace continuously in her collegiate career and her expectation is to keep that momentum going as a member of the WNBA. 

Indiana Fever will win the 2024 WNBA Championship

There’s too much talent complimented by many different skills on this year’s roster. The return of Aliyah Boston and Kelsey Mitchell and additions of Clark and Taylor create a great combination of leadership and young talent. Perhaps this isn’t a bold and surprising prediction, however, despite the Fever coming off a 13-27 season in 2023, the expectations are still certainly high. 

One thing that Fever personnel are excited about is the growth and development that will surround the sport. The level of skills that the upcoming players are bringing in will attract larger fan bases and even young girls that may feel inspired by these incredible athletes. 

Along with the many positives that Clark and other draftees have had on the WNBA, even prior to its season starting, it brought national attention to the pay gap between the WNBA and NBA. 

Clark’s WNBA salary is less than that of some NBA mascots. It can be said that looking into this year’s season, some major attention will turn to this pay gap. Clark will make just over $76,000 in her rookie season. This number is far below those of the NBA, including its league minimum. 

Fans will be interested to see how the sport progresses not just over the course of this season, but for many years to come. GM’s, players and coaches are excited to see growth in the game of basketball. 

After tonight’s game, Clark and the Fever will head to Brooklyn on May 18 in a matinee matchup on ABC.