New college basketball tournament reportedly will pay athletes big bucks

The NCAA had strictly prohibited such deals until 2021.
NCAA Ohio St Basketball
Posted at 11:46 AM, May 08, 2024

Now that college athletes can earn money through their name, image and likeness, a new college basketball tournament will reportedly allow players to cash in.

CBS Sports reported that Las Vegas will host an eight-team Thanksgiving weekend tournament featuring programs from the NCAA's top conferences. Each program will receive $1 million to divvy among players. The report says that programs such as Alabama, Houston, Notre Dame, Oregon, Rutgers, San Diego State and Texas A&M are set to participate.

The report says that players would be obligated to participate in some off-court activities to earn sponsorship money. CBS Sports says the Players Era Festival organizers have assured universities that the new tournament would abide by NCAA rules.

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"As long as they get it compliant, our administration is full-go," one of the participating coaches told CBS. "You'd be stupid not to do this if you were invited."

Schools are unable to directly pay players for their name, image and likeness, but many schools have formed collectives to fundraise on players' behalf. Additionally, the NCAA now allows players to transfer once without sitting out a season, which has resulted in an increasing number of player transfers.

The rule changes have resulted in players often basing their decisions on where to play on monetization rather than on playing opportunities or facilities. NIL deals for basketball and football players have reportedly reached into the millions.

The NCAA's decision to allow players to sign sponsorship deals in 2021 marked a seismic shift for the organization. The NCAA had strictly prohibited such deals, favoring what it dubbed as a "collegiate model" of amateurism.