NBA stars Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony were involved in a major decision that could affect the future of the NBA.
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Overtime Announces New High School League
Both Durant and Carmelo are investors in the digital sports platform Overtime. On Thursday, Overtime CEO Dan Porter announced OTE, a league allowing 16- to 18-year-olds to bypass high school, college, and play in a professional setting, where they can build their brand and develop for the NBA.
Players can earn at least $100,000 a year, receive schooling, transportation, hospitality, and access to pro-level training.
Porter said he spent two years speaking with families of top athletes, seeking input about OTE. He claims that families hated the current path to the pros, where prominent colleges make millions off talent in exchange for free education.
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Jalen Green Is a Pioneer
Jalen Green was the number one high school prospect in the class of 2020. Going into his senior year, he had over a dozen college offers, including blue blood schools like Kansas and Kentucky. So, when he announced his decision to play in the G-League last April, the reactions to the news were mixed.
The main response was confusion. Not over his decision, but rather over the fact that it was an option. Traditionally, heavily scouted players would take the college path, play for one year, and then enter the draft. Now, there is a team in the G-League that takes veteran players and mixes them with young prospects so they can learn from them, and most importantly pay said prospects.
Green’s decision to play for G-League Ignite was indeed astonishing but it may also have been the driving force in Overtime coming out with its Overtime Elite Program.
The NCAA Rules & Regulations Are Not Practical
Paying collegiate athletes has been a debate between players and the National Collegiate Athletic Association for years now. The conversation varies, but a big issue is the rules that are in place for anyone who participates in collegiate sports.
The NCAA has strict regulations on what players can and cannot do, including not being able to receive any form of compensation due to their athletic abilities. But the compensation line is so thin that it is almost impossible for athletes to survive.
Former Baylor running back Silas Nacita won the Big 12 Conference championship in 2015 and after a long night of celebrating, everyone went back to their dorms to get some sleep. However, Nacita was homeless at the time.
When two parents of one of his teammates noticed this, they offered him a place to stay in their house for the night. When the NCAA found out about this, they rendered him ineligible under the amateurism laws that have been put in place.
Amateurism laws ensure that student-athletes do not receive special treatment compared to other students in a university who do not play a sport. But situations like that of Silas make it hard to justify not paying student-athletes.
The Overtime League Will Prioritize the Players
“We are the only country in the world that forces you to go to high school and then go to college to become a pro athlete, at least in basketball and football,” The Overtime CEO said.
“We’re doing it based on the observation of how these young athletes are trying to change the system and make it work for them,”
The late David Stern, the former commissioner of the NBA, also gave Porter his opinion when the idea was presented to him.
“He said, ’I think not only can you guys do this, but you need to do this,” recalled Porter.
“We were like wow. That’s like a 180. That’s when we felt we could do this. When you build a company in this world, you can’t count on people giving you opportunities,” Porter added.
“You have to make your own way.”