Why Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Salary Is Sparking Outrage

The WNBA’s No. 1 overall pick in the draft Caitlin Clark will earn $338,056 over four years with the Indiana Fever, leaving many fans outraged by the pay disparity between the WNBA and NBA.

By Brahmjot Kaur Apr 17, 2024 3:51 PMTags
Watch: Why Caitlin Clark's WNBA Salary Is Sparking Outrage

Caitlin Clark may have made college basketball history, but that won't translate to much in her pocket as she turns pro. 

The excitement surrounding the 2024 WNBA draft quickly turned to anger when many fans learned how much the former University of Iowa star, who was the No. 1 overall pick, will actually make playing basketball professionally. Over four years, she will earn $338,056, according to the association's collective bargaining agreement.

Under the 2024 WBNA rookie scale for the top four draft picks, the 22-year-old—as well as Cameron Brink, Kamilla Cardoso and Rickea Jackson—will earn a base salary of $76,535 for the first year, $78,066 the second year and $85,873 the third, with a fourth-year option of $97,582.

Although Caitlin made history as NCAA Division I basketball's overall top scorer (for men and women) in March, her new salary with the Indiana Fever is less than one percent of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft, Victor Wembanyama. The San Antonio Spurs star signed a $55 million four-year contract, where he earned $12.1 million in his first season, ​​according to the athlete contract tracker Spotrac.

All the Weird and Wild Olympic Sports You Probably Didn't Know About

Caitlin—who currently has sponsorships with State Farm, Gatorade, Nike, and more—will likely make millions from endorsements like her male counterparts. However, not all athletes have these opportunities when going pro. 

"To the people saying it doesn't matter what Caitlin Clark's salary is because she will be making millions through endorsement," one fan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, April 15, "it actually does matter."

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

NFL star Russell Wilson also slammed her contract, writing on X, "These ladies deserve so much more… Praying for the day."

And Hoda Kotb was equally surprised by Caitlin's yearly salary, highlighting the attention the athlete has brought to her sport.

"She had the highest ratings, her teams and the Final Four had the highest ratings — higher than the World Series, higher than the NBA," she explained on Today April 16. "So I was like, what is she going to get paid? Because finally, you can get a real paycheck. Then I saw it and was like, 'this can't be right.'"

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

WNBA players have long shared insight into their struggles with low salaries, with many, including Brittney Griner, choosing to play abroad in the off-season. And that is what the Phoenix Mercury player was doing when she was arrested and ultimately detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022 year.

"The whole reason a lot of us go over is the pay gap," Brittany shared in April 2023 while holding her first press conference since being released a few months prior. "A lot of us go over there to make an income and support our families, to support ourselves."

E! News has reached out to the WBNA and reps for Caitlin Clark and has not heard back.

(NBC News, Today and E! are part of the NBCUniversal family.)

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App