I would like to say the NCAA is broken but that would be inaccurate.
It’s functioning just as it is meant to be.
With bowl games and March Madness millions of dollars are made off of basketball and football alone.
But the players, who put their bodies on the line, don’t join in the spoils of this lucrative business.
“Student-athlete” is a term crafted by Walter Byers, the first executive director of the NCAA, and this was to quell the cries for colleges to pay the players for their work.
The problem with this term is that is misleading.
The commitments for these athletes, especially in the Division 1 schools, are those comparatively of a professional athlete.
Ben Simmons in his documentary he explains the hardships of this system.
“Go buy a 25 jersey, go put me on ESPN, go make millions of dollars off me. I don’t have a voice”
And Lonzo Ball raps on a song about leaving UCLA because for a year he was “slaving for free”.
So with LaVar Ball after taking his youngest son LaMelo out of Chino Hills then LiAngelo leaving UCLA and signing with a professional basketball team in Lithuania his next move is launching Junior Basketball Association.
JBA is an opportunity for players, especially “one and done” players, to refine their skills but also get paid for their work.
There are 80 slots for ranked high school players where there’s an opportunity to earn monthly payments of three to ten thousand dollars.
If this work the game changes for ever.
Similarly to LaVar’s Big Baller Brand there was a lot of opposition with critics claiming that JBA would be foolish to join because it would ruin NCAA eligibility.
The problem with this perspective is it doesn’t account for taking ownership of their own destiny.
Yes some will choose to continue down the path of joining a D1 school then try for the draft but with those dedicated to trying for the league JBA could be a way to make money off their likeness, off their name, and not worry about violations while coaches are lavished with gifts and money by boosters.
— brian axelrod (@brianaxelrod) December 30, 2017
All it takes is one.
With Ice Cube’s BIG3 the league took a chance and secured a television deal with FOX Sports 1.
The inaugural season was a success and it seems they were a leader in the three on three movement as the NBA is looking to join with the DEW tournament and the Olympics is adding the three on three tournament to the 2020 Summer Olympics.
If JBA is successful in convincing a star recruit to forgo a Division 1 school the sports world will take notice.
NBA doesn’t allow high schoolers to join the draft so “prep to pro” programs aren’t available.
This league gives players an opportunity to play stateside while making some real money and either become a professional player or use the money earned to start a life outside of schooling.
This could work or this could fail but instead of crucifying the league before it even is launched I say let the market decide.
I applaud LaVar Ball for actually taking action and trying to solve a problem that has plagued college sports for decades, proper compensation.