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Hawkeye Caitlin Clark and college athletes nationwide are their own moguls in the new endorsement era

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Hawkeye women's basketball is in the NCAA final four for the first time in 20 years, with their stand-out Caitlin Clark racking up accolades - and endorsements - on a national scale.

Elite college athletes like Clark are now earning up to thousands or even millions of dollars from Name, Image, or Likeness (NIL) agreements, which were banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2021.

Corporate sponsors that previously were only allowed to give money to college athletic departments are now giving money directly to athletes in exchange for endorsements, which may lead to fewer funds for non-revenue-generating sports.

River to River host Ben Kieffer talks to Jason Clayworth of Axios Des Moines about how Iowa's largest universities have responded to this change and the disparities in what the country's universities are disclosing to the public about NIL deals.

Kieffer also talks about how NILs are changing the athletic landscape nationwide with author and journalist Bruce Schoenfeld.

Then, Kieffer talks with biologist Nathan Bird of the University of Northern Iowa, who later this year will be the first higher-education institution in the world to receive the newest generation of synthetic cadavers, branded as SynDavers.


  • Jason Clayworth, reporter, Axios Des Moines
  • Bruce Schoenfeld, author, contributor to New York Times Magazine
  • Nathan Bird, associate professor of biology, University of Northern Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.