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The best basketball players aged 16 to 18 will be given the opportunity to start earning money early in their careers as long as they are comfortable with giving up their eligibility to perform in college sports.
Overtime, an online community of over 45 million followers across numerous social media networks, is launching a new league called Overtime Elite (OTE), which will feature up to 30 players who will live, learn, train, and play in a single city that will be announced in the near future. The league is planning to launch in September 2021.
It is a very unique offering for high school basketball players who are not worried about forfeiting the ability to participate at the college level. Overtime is promising those players a minimum salary of at least $100,000 annually (salaries scale up on a case-by-case basis), plus bonuses as well as shares of equity in the company. The athletes will share in the revenue from the use of their publicity rights (i.e. names, images, and likenesses) with third parties for commercial gain. For instance, athletes in the league will be able to partner with trading card companies and video game producers. Additionally, they will have the capacity to sign shoe and apparel deals with sneaker companies at an earlier age.
No players have signed on to participate as of yet, with an Overtime representative telling Outkick that the company does not want to take the focus off players finishing their current season of play.
Investors include Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Baron Davis, Victor Oladipo, and Silicon Valley-based tech VC firm Andreesen Horowitz.
“Many athletes aren’t properly prepared for what it really means to go pro,” says Anthony, who is joining OTE’s board of directors. “We need to do a better job of empowering the next generation of players and setting them up for success. OTE is leading the way on that front by offering players a comprehensive route that fully develops the athlete – not just basketball skills, but also education, economic empowerment and building their own brand. 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.”
Included in Overtime’s offering is full health care and disability insurance coverage for the athletes, as well as a guaranteed payment of up to $100,000 for college tuition in the case that the players wish to go to school even though they understand that, under the current NCAA rules, they will not be able to play for the school.
Overtime’s plan seems to have the look and feel of an IMG Academy with the important added benefit that students will have the capacity of earning money at an earlier age. While IMG Academy is a prepartory boarding school and sports training destination, OTE goes a step further by allowing athletes to become businesspeople and begin tapping into their earning potential in their teens.