Prodigies Among Highest-Earning NCAA Women’s College Athletes

For high school recruits, deciding where to go to school can be one of the biggest decisions of their career.

This is especially true for women’s sports.

In today’s NIL environment, the magnitude of that decision and the financial implications involved have only grown more complicated.

Underclassmen are well-represented on the women’s NIL Top-100 list. In fact, 41 percent of the women on the list were either freshmen or sophomores.

All in all, there were 21 freshmen and 20 sophomores on the women’s NIL Top-100.

While there were more freshmen on the list, sophomores drew more than 2x the average NIL valuation and per post value compared to first-year athletes.

Sunisa Lee Leads All NCAA Underclassmen with $1.5M NIL Valuation

Auburn sophomore gymnast Sunisa Lee leads all female underclassmen with an NIL valuation of $1.5 million. After winning a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, Lee sits at No. 2 in the women’s NIL Top-100 and No. 10 overall.

LSU freshman Flau’jae Johnson is the most valuable first-year athlete on the women’s NIL Top-100 list.

The No. 26 overall recruit in the country according to ESPN, Johnson has parlayed her talent on the hardwood with a budding music career. With over 1M combined followers on social media, Johnson’s NIL valuation ($587,000) is more than twice that of the next-highest freshman, Oregon State’s Jade Carey ($258,000).

While freshmen accounted for just 10.57% of the total NIL valuation among the top-100 athletes, there is some hope for future growth.

In fact, freshmen can expect their NIL valuations to grow by 150% by their senior year.

Sophomores already have an edge on juniors in average valuation and per post value.

When it comes to women’s Top-100, second-year athletes earn an average valuation that is 16 percent higher than juniors, including 18 percent more per post.

For a complete breakdown of the NIL valuations by year, check out the chart below.

Year

Count Total Valuation Average ($) Money (%) Per Post Per Post Avg Per Post %
Senior 37 6,375,300 172,305.41 47.22% 89,242 2,411.95

46.79%

Junior

22 2,779,100 126,322.73 20.58% 39,138 1,779.00 20.52%
Sophomore 20 2,919,700 145,985.00 21.63% 41,924 2,096.20

21.98%

Freshman

21 1,426,700 67,938.10 10.57% 20,421 972.43 10.71%
Total 100 13,500,800 135,008.00 100.00% 190,725 1,907.25 100.00%

Top-5 Freshman NIL Valuations

More often than not, it takes athletes some time to adjust to the college level.

Yet, a few freshmen are ahead of the game and have garnered huge NIL valuations in their first season at the NCAA level.

Check out the top NIL valuations for NCAA freshmen in women’s college sports.

  1. Flau’jae Johnson, LSU — $587,000
  2. Jade Carey, Oregon State — $258,000
  3. Sage Thompson, Utah — $82,000
  4. Jordy Bahl, Oklahoma — $61,000
  5. Kiki Rice, LSU — $43,000

Top-5 Sophomore NIL Valuations

Led by Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee, these sophomores are set to take the NCAA by storm in 2022 and become among the highest earning college athletes in America.

Check out the highest NIL valuations among female NCAA athletes in their sophomore year.

  1. Sunisa Lee, Auburn — $1,500,000
  2. Jordan Chiles, UCLA — $368,000
  3. Mia Mastrov, California — $337,000
  4. Grace McCallum, Utah — $208,000
  5. Leanne Wong, Florida — $50,000
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