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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS — The Iowa women’s basketball coaching staff has heard from recruits, asking about name, image and likeness.
“We get questions about it all the time,” associate head coach Jan Jensen said.
Now Jensen and the other women’s basketball coaches on the second floor of Carver-Hawkeye Arena have more to share.
The Swarm Collective, unveiled Tuesday, will offer the same level of pay to any participating football, men’s basketball or women’s basketball athletes.
That means starting quarterback Spencer Petras could make the same amount as women’s basketball players off the bench like Kylie Feuerbach or Shateah Wetering.
“It makes a statement nationally that you can do it and care about your women’s sports,” Jensen said.
The inclusion of a women’s team in collectives is far from a given in the rapidly evolving NIL landscape.
The Foundation at Ohio State, for example, directs its donations only to football and men’s basketball athletes, according to its website.
Many of the collectives that do include women’s sports haven’t ensured equal pay yet.
Hoosier Hysterics at Indiana has made deals with women’s basketball athletes, but men’s basketball “remains the priority,” its website says.
Nebraska’s N100 collective allows donors to support the volleyball program, but someone first has to scroll past three different options for football players to support before finding the volleyball group.
While NIL opportunities will undoubtedly follow star players like Caitlin Clark, a recruit without the ability to hit 3-pointers from the half-court logo or score triple-doubles still has a lot to gain from Iowa’s Swarm Collective.
“You can still recruit and say, ‘Hey, you’re part of it,’” Jensen said. “You may never, ever get on the floor, but you’re still going to get that X percent of dollars. … You may not ever get the accolades of Caitlin, but for this Swarm Collective, you’re valued and you’re seen.”
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said in May the “average deal” for the “normal NIL person” on her team — that excludes Clark and her national profile — is for about $1,000.
“For most kids, they're not getting rich off of their name, image and likeness,” Bluder said.
Right now, Bluder’s program is the only women’s sport on campus to be able to reap the benefits of the Swarm Collective and its equal pay design.
In the long run, Jensen would like to see more sports under the Swarm Collective’s umbrella.
“I want everybody to have a piece of that pie, too,” Jensen said. “But for now, I’m very grateful that we’re one of the three.”
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