While the NCAA and government work to nail down name, image and likeness laws at the college level, a new basketball league is being formed to compensate elite high school athletes while preparing them for the pros.
According to The New York Times, the Overtime Elite league is looking to differentiate itself by offering prep players, from 16 to 18 years old, $100,000 salaries and the chance to learn skills that will make them successful professionally.
Sportico reports that Overtime Elite, which is being launched by multimedia sports brand Overtime, “plans to recruit up to 30 high schoolers, offering six-figure salaries, an education tailored to elite athletes and on-court development including competition against international teams.”
Former NBA senior vice president Aaron Ryan will serve as Overtime Elite’s president, while ex-NBA player and front office executive Brandon Williams will lead basketball operations.
The league will attempt to prepare the amateurs for more than basketball, providing courses on topics like financial literacy, media skills and social justice advocacy.
“These young athletes should not only be surrounded by what it takes to prepare them (for the NBA) but also be compensated for it,” Ryan said.
“Many athletes aren’t properly prepared for what it really means to go pro,” 18-year NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony, a member of Overtime Elite’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Having this type of guidance for high school players is critical in setting them up for a successful career, both on and off the court.”
Due to eligibility issues, paid Overtime Elite graduates will not be able to play NCAA basketball. They must also follow NBA eligibility rules, which state that players have to be at least 19 years old and one year removed from their high school graduation. Overtime Elite graduates could spend that year playing basketball in the G League or internationally. Overtime Elite also plans to offer signing bonuses, health and disability insurance, and $100,000 in college scholarship money for any graduate that doesn’t pursue professional basketball.
“We think our system will be amazing for their basketball development,” Overtime president Zack Weiner said. “Will every single player make the N.B.A.? Maybe not every single one of them, but the large majority will become professionals.”
“We are genuine in really investing in hiring really serious and legitimate people to run every aspect of the company,” Overtime CEO Dan Porter said. “I don’t want to mess around with kids’ lives. I don’t want people to mess around with my kids’ lives. There is a moral obligation that goes with that.”
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