Overtime Elite Pro Basketball League to Launch in September, Pay HS-Aged Players

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2021

Basketballs, to be used in an upcoming NCAA college basketball game between San Francisco and Virginia, are disinfected with alcohol wipes, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Video content service Overtime is launching a professional basketball league for high schoolers in September called Overtime Elite, according to Martenzie Johnson of The Undefeated. 

Per that report, "league executives hope OTE can capitalize off American high school players choosing to eschew the traditional route of finishing a high school career and playing at least one year of collegiate ball before declaring for the NBA draft."

Here are more details on how the league will operate:

  • Games will be played in one host city.
  • Thirty total players in the league from around the globe. 
  • The Overtime Elite teams will also play against prep schools from the United States and other countries.
  • The league will consist of players "ages 16 to 18 who are willing to forfeit their remaining high school eligibility and future college eligibility to earn six figures," per Johnson.
  • According to that report, the minimum pay for any player in the league will be $100,000.
  • Additional benefits will include health care and "bonuses, equity in Overtime and revenues from a player's name, image and likeness." Players will also be given up to $100,000 for college tuition in the event they don't make it to a professional league after Overtime Elite. 
  • The league will offer an academic program centered on "financial literacy, media training and social justice advocacy."

"This offering and opportunity not only gives you pro-caliber training and development in a facility that models and starts to simulate what life will be like in the NBA. ... But it also provides a six-figure salary," OTE President and Commissioner Aaron Ryan told Johnson. 

Investors include the Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant and Portland Trail Blazers' Carmelo Anthony.

As more players choose to bypass college to turn professional immediately, either by going overseas or through the G League's developmental program, the Overtime Elite model will surely be enticing for high school prospects looking to be paid immediately and receive more specific preparation. 

The counterargument will be that players will miss out on a traditional education in lieu of a highly specific training program for a profession that the players may fail to reach. Very few people become professional basketball players, either in the NBA or overseas. 

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