The Historical Basketball League who’s aim is to focus on compensation and education announced the following eight cities for the launch of the league’s inaugural season set to take place in June 2020:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Norfolk, Virginia
- Richmond, Virginia
- Washington, DC
Focusing on the east coast with the intent to expand to other parts of the United States in the near future, the HBL seeks to challenge the NCAA-model by offering top players the opportunity to earn compensation while also obtaining a college degree. The HBL will offer players up to $150,000 based on their market value and will assist each player “in building a personal and professional brand that will extend on and off the court.”
Promoting Personal Brands Through Use of Name, Image, and Likeness
The NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group was created to analyze proposed federal and state legislation and determine whether student-athletes may receive benefits (i.e. compensation) based on the use of their name, image, and likeness. The NCAA provided the committee with a strict mandate: (i) potential benefits must be tied to education, and (ii) no models that could be perceived as “pay-for-play” may be considered.
These guidelines make it virtually impossible for student-athletes to receive benefits in exchange for the use of their likeness. However, California’s bill (and other states) should force the NCAA to loosen up its parameters. In the meantime, there are a number of ways the HBL can help build player brands through increased fan engagement and other means that could also benefit the league.
One platform is INFLCR, a software that allows athletes and teams to deliver personalized content across social media. INFLCR has partnered with a number of universities and athletes to build brands, and the Historical Basketball League could benefit greatly in the promotion and marketing of its product by doing the same.
Another is Gatorade’s “Highlights” app. Though catered to younger athletes to help capture and share athletic feats, Gatorade’s app provides another great branding tool and way for athletes to control their marketing. Users can brand their highlights with their names, numbers, teams or positions. This provides the most popular players with a way to increase their marketability and commercial value.
Historical Basketball League: The Future of College Basketball
The NCAA Basketball corruption case resulted in prison sentences for each of the individuals involved. The universities implicated at trial have resorted to claiming “victim” as a way to alleviate their roles. That stance, coupled with the NCAA’s refusal to take overt investigative action, have some questioning whether corruption in the college ranks will ever be addressed.
HBL’s Andy Schwarz notes that schools violate rules because the value of obtaining a five-star recruit exceeds any punishment the NCAA can provide. This finding emphasizes the HBL’s importance. The recent decisions of RJ Hampton and Kenyon Martin Jr. show athletes are tired of being exploited. The NCAA rules are arbitrary and antiquated, but change is on the horizon. Boasting a management team led by two-time champion David West and an advisory board featuring two individuals with Google-experience, the forward-thinking Historical Basketball Leauge has a real shot of establishing itself as the premier college basketball league for domestic and international talent. The HBL has already begun scouting athletes for its inaugural 2020 Season, identifying potential coaches, and engaging individuals to serve as ambassadors for its respective teams.
CEO Ricky Volante often states, “Amateurism is a con,” and that the collegiate model should first benefit the student-athletes, not the coach or institution who profits from their labor. The HBL is coming, and many – including the NCAA – are beginning to take notice of compensation and education.