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NIL agreements could expose persistent racial, sexual inequalities


In 1980, twins Faye and Kaye Young secured one of the first national underwriting transactions for women basketball players.

The Youngs, who played in the state of North Carolina from 1976-79 before signing with the New York Stars of the short-lived Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) in 1979, became the faces of Dannon Yougurt’s national advertising campaign.

Although few Americans were aware of the new WBL or New York Stars, they knew about the Dannon Yogurt twins.

More than thirty years later, another twin with two rings makes a history for women’s basketball – Haley and Hanna Cavinder.

On July 1, the NCAA’s new policy, name and image (NIL) came into force, allowing university athletes “To take advantage of their name, image and likeness” by signing underwriting agreements. The Cavinders, emerging juniors in Fresno State, who have nearly five million joint followers on Instagram and TikTok, quickly became the face of NIL policies, dealing with Six Star Pro Nutrition and Boost Mobile. Although the terms of these agreements have not been disclosed, Sports Illustrated described their Boost Mobile contract as A wonderful case. “ It is estimated that the two transactions will yield the twins’ income in five figures. The Cavinders and their representative also indicate that more agreements will be announced.

Cavinders’ notes illustrate how much has changed for female basketball players, especially female college basketball players. When the Youngs played in the NC States, it was impossible to earn an income for endorsements, just like for the much more announced hoppers who have been in Knoxville, Storrs, South Bend, Palo Alto, Waco, Columbia and beyond lately played. three decades.

The fact that the Cavinders immediately emerged as NIL darlings suggests that much has not changed when it comes to women’s basketball players and underwriting opportunities.

Although many black, brown and / or queer athletes can be expected to announce underwriting agreements in the coming weeks and months, NIL transactions have the potential to expose how certain privileges work to determine the ‘value’ of an athlete in the university that women play. basketball.

Yes, the new NIL policy offers a free market for financial athletes. However, the infrastructure of this free market is not free from race, gender and sexuality.

Why Faye and Kaye Young were the faces of the WBL

On the Youngs, the New York Stars and the WBL, the blog Fun while it lasted notes:

To the extent that the media is interested in the Stars and the WBL, they have largely ignored the league’s emerging black stars such as (Althea) Gwynn. [a 6-foot-2 center from Queens College who led the league in rebounding], in favor of a handful of telegenic blonde players …. especially Kaye and Faye Young of the stars. The identical 5 ′ 11 ″ twins from the state of North Carolina played for the Stars from 1978 to 1980.

In Mal seasons, in her book on the WBL, author Karra Porter writes that the management of New York Stars sometimes asked to ‘put marketing above basketball’.

Former WNBA president Donna Orender, who played in the WBL, also highlighted the premium the league has made in its marketing efforts, tells Porter:

I think the league tended to go along with blondes. I can not tell you that a brunette girl who is marketed.

Although Althea Gwynn, a three-time All-Star for the Stars, has insisted on maintaining positive personal relationships with the Youngs, she, like Orender, can not help but resent the WBL’s promotional priorities, share with Porter:

Everyone wanted to be where they were. They had a product to sell, and that’s what they were looking for, two twins – two white twins …

Things to monitor

Former Notre Dame head coach Muffett McGraw tell Sports Illustrated“Women are pretty good at social media, and now they can be paid for it. If you can find a way to earn a million dollars for selling what you have, do it. ‘

However, as many women’s basketball players and teams, who followed in the footsteps of their big sisters in WNBA, insisted on making racial equity a guiding principle of their programs, it would be relevant if the NIL contracts the reveal the continued existence of a race. hierarchy, where an athlete’s skin color, as well as her perceived gender conformity, is an important factor in valuing her individual brand.

Compare and contrast how the holding of UConn’s Paige Bueckers, Iowa is Caitlin Clark, South Carolina, Aaliyah Boston, and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith profit from the new NIL policy should say a lot about equity issues. All four feature strong seasons and impressive NCAA Tournament runs, suggesting that, based on the intersection of individual abilities and the expected team success, they need to be positioned to get comparable budget opportunities.

Although Bueckers and Clark are slightly different from the image of Cavinders, they fit another long-standing female basketball player model – the ‘girl next door’. From Rebecca Lobo to Sue Bird to Elena Delle Donne to Sabrina Ionescu, extraordinarily talented white basketball players who, according to them, communicate a comforting middle-class fame, have gained considerable popularity. Boston and Smith, on the other hand, do not conform to archetypes that have existed for a long time. A resident of St. Thomas, Boston, radiates a modern brand of black women, with brightly colored braids that perfectly match her infectious personality. The swaying Smith often presents her as dreaded or natural hair comfortable confidence in her lack of concern about conventional norms.

So far, Boston, as well as teammate Placentia Beal, announced agreements with Cameo. Among other prominent women’s college basketball players, Maryland’s Ashley Owusu and Our Lady is Sam Brunelle has partnered with Yoke Gaming, a platform that allows college athletes to play against each other and fans.

Possibly we will see a significant number of female colleagues signing national deals with colors that compete with Cavinders’ contracts. Recent developments involving WNBA players, however, suggest that expectations need to be tempered. Despite the joint efforts of the WNBPA to increase the black women who are the backbone of the league, white players still received some of the most prestigious honors, endorsement and opportunities.

The lack of attention to the South Carolina Gamecocks – a black majority team with a black head coach – in the wake of the shortening of the 2020 season also does not inspire confidence. Talk to The undefeated after the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley shared this:

I have to answer why they do it [the media] we despise so. This is what came down on my phone [via text messages from her players], and I have no answers for that. But I know that the people who decide what story to write about women’s basketball have misunderstood … We have been the number 1 team in the country longer than anyone this season. We are not like the no. 1-team in the country does not treat.

How significantly will the NIL policy influence the culture of women’s basketball programs?

Although no attention is paid to how an athlete’s racial and / or sexual identity can determine the NIL transactions she does or does not receive, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma is concerned about the possible consequences of NIL contracts on teams. According to The Athletics, Auriemma posed:

Now your 18-year-olds are asking, ‘Do you understand that there is no demand for you? And there’s a big question for her or these three and nothing to you? … But I do not see how you can keep it out of the locker room, and keep it out of your team dynamics.

For some young women playing college basketball, the new NIL policy will open up a whole new world of business opportunities, financial independence and public awareness. For others, it will not. It is worthwhile to monitor which athletes are on either side of this equation.





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