Since its inception, the NCAA has had a pretty solid hustle going, as it’s been able to print boatloads of money while masquerading as the white knight for the sacred cow that is amateur athletics in order to justify the lengths it goes to make sure players never see a single penny of the revenue they generate.
There have been plenty of people who’ve attempted to challenge that status quo over the years, and the organization has traditionally responded by essentially saying, “Well, you can always go play somewhere else if you don’t like it” before laughing maniacally and lighting a cigar with a flaming $100 bill.
However, it appears its only a matter of time until the NCAA succumbs to the fate that befalls virtually every authoritarian regime, as there’s been a revolution brewing that threatens to bring the system to its knees and has sent the governing body of college sports scrambling in an attempt to salvage as much as it can.
In 2019, California became the first state to pass a law that would permit student-athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness, and after others followed suit, the NCAA backpedaled at the speed of light to start constructing a plan of its own as more and more writing began to appear on the wall.
It’s also been facing some increased competition in the basketball realm thanks to promising prospects who’ve capitalized on the chance to cash in while honing their skills in the hopes of making the NBA. LaVar Ball’s attempt to disrupt the system may not have panned out as he hoped, but last year, Jalen Green made waves when he announced he’d be forgoing college and taking his talents to the G League, which offered to pay him a cool $500,000 in addition to covering college tuition if he ever pursues a degree.
Now, another competitor is borrowing from that model to give 30 athletes a similar opportunity in the form of Overtime Elite, a new league that will offer basketball players between the age of 16 and 18 a minimum salary of $100,000 and give them the same amount to pay for college if they don’t pursue a professional career.
Overtime is launching Overtime Elite, a basketball league for 16-to-18-year-olds.
➖ $100K minimum salary
➖ Health benefits
➖ Equity stake in Overtime
If an athlete decides not to pursue basketball professionally, Overtime will cover college tuition up to $100K. pic.twitter.com/8ds9XmT7LC
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) March 4, 2021
According to The New York Times, Overtime Elite will also offer players health and disability insurance as well as shares in the media company that lends its name to it, and while it hasn’t officially signed any high schoolers yet, the people behind it seem confident it won’t take too long.
One of those people is Carmelo Anthony, who has a stake in Overtime in serves on the company’s board. Anthony—who played a single season at Syracuse before being drafted—says the league isn’t intended to be an NCAA Killer and suggests this is just a natural evolution that will provide people who are as skilled as he was as a high schooler with better opportunities:
“We are not against the N.C.A.A. We are not against the N.B.A. We are not trying to hurt those guys or come at them. We want the support of the N.B.A. and N.C.A.A. Eventually, we are going to need those guys anyway.
Going to college and playing college basketball is what it is. It never will change. The concept of Overtime Elite is not to disrupt that, but to give these kids opportunities because they are taking control of their own brands and what they do, and social media becoming so powerful. Why not embrace that?”
Overtime Elite is essentially a fancy version of the many sports academies that already exist, as players will all live in one location to train while receiving an education that will allow them to walk away with a high school diploma. It’s unclear when we can expect the inaugural season to begin, but this should be a very interesting development to keep an eye on