I’m sure many of us know the name Caitlin Clark. Over the past few years she has blown up and become a household name in the world of women’s sports. However, with all of this newfound fame and popularity stemming from the fact she is averaging 31 points per game this year, a lot of backlash has hit Clark in the media and from fans online. An incident on Sunday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio sparked more controversy in the world of women's basketball but there is reason to believe that Caitlin was not in the wrong.
This was an important game for both sides, both teams entered the matchup being ranked inside the top twenty with Iowa at number two and Ohio State ranked 18th looking to give Iowa only its second loss of the season. Clark was magic like any other night and delivered 45 points, however, this was not enough to get the job done for her team. Cotie McMahon, reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year scored 31 points and took over the game in overtime to give Ohio State the win. Seeing as this was a huge upset, the fans stormed the court which is where the controversy took place.
A large audience always follows Caitlin Clark wherever she goes; in this case however, one fan was too close for her to feel safe. Clark was walking off the floor when she appeared to collide with a fan on her way to the locker room. She stayed down for several minutes and appeared to be in some serious pain as members of the medical staff checked on her before she was able to get up under her own power and jog to the locker room. Clark later talked to reporters about the collision.
“Kind of scary, could’ve caused a pretty serious injury to me and knocked the wind out of me, but luckily my teammates kind of picked me up and got me off the court,” before adding that it “comes with the territory.” -- Caitlin Clark
Coach Kevin McGuff of Ohio State apologized for the incident in a postgame press conference; he addressed the fact that he hoped she would be good to go for their next game and that it would not impact the rest of her season. While Clark did not sustain any injuries when the fan ran into her, by NCAA rule it is the right of the players to be on the court after the game and their safety comes first. A ticket to any sporting event allows someone to occupy their seat during a game but does not give them license to be on the playing surface of the athletes at any time. In light of this, security is being questioned on their role to stop the fans from storming the court. It is crucial that more security members are at big sporting events, leaving players like Caitlin Clark feeling safer and more respected after the game.