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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Impending legislation will allow student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness (NIL) through sponsored social media posts and other means.

Why it matters: If athletes had full control of their NIL rights, the top women's basketball players in this year's Elite Eight would have greater earning power than the top men.

By the numbers: Among the men's and women's Elite Eight teams, eight of the 10 most-followed players โ€” and 10 of the top 20 โ€” are women.

  • Listed below are the combined Twitter and Instagram follower counts for the 20 most-followed players, plus their estimated annual earnings, provided to Axios by athlete marketing platform Opendorse.
  • Opendorse's estimates weigh multiple factors, including engagement rate, market size (e.g. UCLA > Gonzaga) and overall sponsorship and athletic department revenue by school (e.g. Louisville > UConn).

Top 20:

  1. ๐Ÿšบ Paige Bueckers, UConn: ~730k ($382k)
  2. ๐Ÿšบ Hailey Van Lith, Louisville: 696k ($965k)
  3. ๐Ÿšน Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga: 325k ($495k)
  4. ๐Ÿšบ Jaden Owens, Baylor: 295k ($310k)
  5. ๐Ÿšบ Zia Cooke, South Carolina: 206k ($178k)
  6. ๐Ÿšบ Cameron Brink, Stanford: 91k ($47k)
  7. ๐Ÿšน Adrian Nunez, Michigan: 83k ($70k)
  8. ๐Ÿšบ Anna Wilson, Stanford: 80k ($41k)
  9. ๐Ÿšบ Olivia Nelson-Ododa, UConn: 77k ($30k)
  10. ๐Ÿšบ Brea Beal, South Carolina: 74k ($69k)
  11. ๐Ÿšน Quentin Grimes, Houston: 66k ($67k)
  12. ๐Ÿšบ Destanni Henderson, South Carolina: 65k ($81k)
  13. ๐Ÿšน Evan Mobley, USC: 62k ($46k)
  14. ๐Ÿšน Johnny Juzang, UCLA: 55k ($53k)
  15. ๐Ÿšน Tyger Campbell, UCLA: 54k ($59k)
  16. ๐Ÿšน Moses Moody, Arkansas: 50k ($72k)
  17. ๐Ÿšน Drew Timme, Gonzaga: 49k ($40k)
  18. ๐Ÿšน Hunter Dickinson, Michigan: 49k ($33k)
  19. ๐Ÿšน Jaylen Clark, UCLA: 49k ($38k)
  20. ๐Ÿšบ Caitlin Clark, Iowa: 42k ($11k)

The bottom line: The story of this year's March Madness has been the inequities between the two tournaments. Perhaps the story of the future will be the equal marketing opportunities for men's and women's stars.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Tokyo Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz has become the first Team United States Olympian to win goldย at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver, .86 seconds behind him. Moments later, Kieran Smith grabbed a third medal for the U.S. when he won bronze in the 400-meter freestyle.

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

2 hours ago - Sports

Gymnast Suni Lee to make historic debut at Olympics

USA's Sunisa Lee performs at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, on Oct. 13, 2019. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

When Sunisa "Suni" Lee steps up to the mat at the Tokyo Olympics, she'll be thinking of her father's pep talks even as he watches from thousands of miles away.

The big picture: The 18-year-old made history this year when she became the first Hmong American to be named to a U.S. Olympic team. Even more special was her dad's presence in the crowd at the Olympic trials โ€” it was only the second time he watched her compete in person since a 2019 accident paralyzed him from the chest down.

DOJ won't investigate nursing home deaths in N.Y. and 2 other states

People who've lost loved ones due to COVID-19 while they were in New York nursing homes attend a March protest and vigil in New York City. As of this month, Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has decided not to launch a civil rights investigation into whether policies in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan contributed to pandemic deaths in nursing homes, according to a letter sent to Republicans.

Why it matters: The Trump DOJ requested data from the three states plus New Jersey last August "amid still-unanswered questions about whether some states, especially New York, inadvertently worsened the pandemic death toll by requiring nursing homes to accept residents previously hospitalized for COVID-19," per AP.