What Women Athletes Need to Know About Money


As we witness women’s sports breaking records left and right, money has consistently been at the center of the conversation. People want to know what pay equity really looks like. But in addition to debates about revenue shares and sponsorship dollars, there’s another factor that must be considered: financial literacy. After all, it’s hard to believe we’re genuinely setting these athletes up for success if they don’t even know how to do their taxes.

Right now, there’s more money available to young women athletes than ever before. Thanks to policy changes made in 2021, Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities now allow NCAA players to monetize their personal brands while maintaining their amateur status. This might look like the Nike endorsement Clark scored while playing for Iowa, or Angel Reese’s deals with Reebok, Coach, and Amazon while at LSU.

“Effective leveraging of NIL requires guidance in branding, marketing, and financial management — areas where mentorship and professional advice are crucial,” says sports entrepreneur Danny Cortenraede. For example, because NIL deals are one of the main ways in which young women athletes make their money, marketing is huge. One increasingly important facet of financial security — especially when rookie pay remains so low — is social media, which has a powerful impact on players’ NIL opportunities. “As a college athlete, managing your social media might not seem like a huge priority, but these days, personal branding is crucial,” Cortenraede says. “A strong social media presence significantly influences the deals you will attract, making it an essential aspect of maximizing NIL opportunities.” Investing is another consideration, which can be difficult, and even risky, to navigate without any prior education or experience.

If all this sounds unrelated to athletes’ main jobs, consider the fact that in 2009, Sports Illustrated estimated that 78 percent of former NFL players are bankrupt or under financial stress within two years of their retirement, and 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. These are players who made millions over the course of their careers. But considering how short-term and unpredictable their playing careers can be, money management know-how is essential for athletes.

This need for financial guidance is something Sydney Carter has personally witnessed as the Director of Player Development for the University of Texas Women’s Basketball team. “There was a workshop on campus that talked about students filing their taxes because of how much money they were making, and none of my athletes wanted to go,” Carter said in a discussion hosted by Marriott Bonvoy at the Women’s Final Four. In the end, she decided to make the workshop mandatory for all her players so that their taxes would be done correctly. “As soon as I said it, [the athletes] were like, ‘Why do I have to do that?'” Carter remembered. “I wish [the schools] would educate them more on the responsibilities of incoming money, because they just don’t know.”

There are currently several different programs for financial education and mentorship, which Cortenraede says is important for inspiration and practical advice. These include the Financial Education Playbook for Athletes, the Players’ Tribune for brand development, and the Professional Athlete Foundation (PAF) for financial planning. “Still, there is ample room to grow and expand these resources to better meet the specific needs of female athletes,” Cortenraede says — from helping players close deals, to guiding them through various aspects of entrepreneurship.

Ultimately, financial literacy is an integral part of athletic development, giving athletes the tools they need to succeed both on and off the court. According to Cortenraede, workshops, mentorships, and increased guidance for branding and marketing are all good steps towards helping young female athletes establish long-lasting careers. “Athletes have the right mindset to perform at the highest level,” he says. “They need a coach and guidance in the financial and investment world.”

Chandler Plante is an assistant editor for POPSUGAR Health & Fitness. Previously, she worked as an editorial assistant for People magazine and contributed to Ladygunn, Millie, and Bustle Digital Group. In her free time, she overshares on the internet, creating content about chronic illness, beauty, and disability.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

6 Plyometric Exercises to Add Some Fire to Any Workout
Why Non-Performative Yoga Is the Breath of Fresh Air Your Practice Needs
Low Pay, Long Hours, and Mandated Hair Extensions: The True Cost of Being an NBA Dancer
Is Working Out With Sore Muscles a Good Idea? Fitness Pros Weigh In
Transform Your Legs With This 20-Minute Home Workout

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *