Tate’s take draws attention to the reality of WNBA’s business model

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LaDazhia Williams and Alexis Morris

It was an interesting take by LSU President William F. Tate.

On social media, Tate said he had kept quiet about two LSU players, Alexis Morris and LaDazhia Williams, being cut by their WNBA teams after being selected in the league’s draft last month.

Tate retweeted the Los Angeles Sparks announcement of the waiving of Iowa’s Monica Czinano and added that the WNBA model was “suboptimal.”

Tate, again on social media, asked, “Has any industry cut their way to greatness?”

Now here’s some reality.

The reason the WNBA has only 144 jobs (12 teams, 12 roster spots) is because that’s what the business model supports. The top players in the league earn $235,000 a year. That’s the contract that WNBA and the players association negotiated three years ago, based on a revenue model that both sides agreed.

It’s called business.

The business model also says that in name, image and likeness, LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne is worth millions. The same NIL is netting LSU basketball star Angel Reese hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Angel Reese will make more money in college than she likely would in the WNBA.

That’s reality.

Olivia Dunne has the eyeballs. So does Angel Reese.

Because the NBA has eyeballs watching, 17 players, according to the website Spotrac, earn at least $35 million dollars per season.

According to the same website, only 14 players in the WNBA earned more than $200,000 a year.

You can argue night and day whether you think that is right or wrong but that is reality.

Oh by the way, in the NBA, the draft consists of only 60 players. Many of those players do not make NBA rosters.

In the next labor contract, WNBA players can demand bigger rosters and more teams. If that demand leads to a work stoppage, so be it.

The NBA has expanded from 23 teams 40 years ago to 30 today. Why? Because the league’s business model will support it.

In the world of LSU academics, many professors get tenure. Their jobs are secure. That’s fine. That is the world in which they choose to work.

Football coach Brian Kelly’s world is much more lucrative and but also more risky. Kelly knows that his predecessor was terminated less than two years after he won a national championship.

High risk, high reward.

Which is exactly the life of a professional athlete or coach.

LaDazhia Williams, by the way, has signed with a basketball club in Israel.

The world of academics is, in many respects, quite different from the business world.

Several collegiate stars and a University president were reminded of that reality this week.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

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Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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