South Carolina-Iowa Women’s NCAA Final Draws Massive TV Audience; NCAA President Addresses Prop Betting Concerns; Florida Guard Declares for NBA Draft”

In a thrilling showdown between South Carolina and Caitlin Clark’s Iowa, Sunday’s women’s NCAA championship game captivated audiences, boasting a preliminary average viewership of 18.7 million across ABC and ESPN. Surpassing nearly all sporting events in the United States since 2019, except for football, the World Cup, and the Olympics, this matchup is poised to elevate its viewership further upon the release of final numbers by Nielsen on Tuesday.

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With a peak viewership of 24 million, it marks the most-watched basketball game since 2019, reminiscent of the men’s NCAA title game between Virginia and Texas Tech, which averaged 19.6 million viewers on CBS.

Discussing the growing trend of prop betting on college athletes’ individual performances,  President Charlie Baker expressed deep concern, labeling it as “enormously problematic.” Addressing reporters ahead of the men’s  championship game in Glendale, Arizona, Baker revealed the NCAA’s push for states with legal sports wagering to outlaw such practices. He underscored the athletes’ distress over potential harassment from disgruntled bettors, emphasizing the NCAA’s nascent efforts to address this pressing issue.

Meanwhile, in Gainesville, Florida, guard Walter Clayton Jr. announced his entry into the NBA draft while retaining the option to return for his senior year with the Gators. Leading his team with an impressive 17.6 points per game this season, the 6-foot-3 junior from Lake Wales embarked on the NBA pre-draft evaluation process. Amidst his personal milestone of becoming a father in December, Clayton deliberates his future, having until May 29 to withdraw from the draft and resume his collegiate career at Florida.

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