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What is the Overtime Elite Basketball League?

For decades NBA fans knew the way it was. The best high school players would go to the best US colleges. They’d enter the NBA draft, previously after 3 or 4 years, now usually just 1. Creating the “one and done” culture that’s threatening the fabric of the NCAA. Until they signed that first NBA contract these talented young adults were prohibited from making money from their main talent – Basketball. This has led in recent years to a trend of some of the top prospects skipping college, playing a year abroad in Europe or Australia – maybe even in the G League with the rise of teams like Ignite – that sought to actively give players a different pathway to the NBA. The floodgates are open, players don’t want to wait to get paid anymore. Enter Jeff Bezos, Drake and Overtime Elite Basketball.

What is the Overtime Elite Basketball League? Overtime Elite is a revolutionary American basketball league, in that it offers 16-18 year olds a different, salaried, path to the NBA. It was launched by ‘Overtime’, a sports media network that primarily uses social media to spread its content. Overtime Elite is backed by Jeff Bezos of Amazon and music artist Drake. It will launch its first season in Winter 2021. Overtime has always taken a significant interest in young talented high school athletes, so it is no surprise that they have launched a league looking to develop the best 16-18 year old basketball players.

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How Does the Overtime Elite Basketball League Work?

Based in Atlanta, Overtime Elite looks to sign the very best 16-18 year old high school hoopers and help them develop their games with the target ultimately getting them to the NBA. Overtime Elite plans to bring in 30 of the best high school basketball players, and give them a year round development course that includes high quality coaching as well as excellent academic programs, not unlike the development academies of top European Soccer clubs. Overtime targeting high school age players means that they have to provide top quality teaching to go along with the basketball coaching. The program also has specific training linked to playing in the NBA. Players will be taught financial literacy, media training and the business of basketball, all of which prepares them for the NBA. The OTE also has some excellent leadership from within. The league’s commissioner, Aaron Ryan, worked in the NBA for 22 years. Head of basketball operation Brandon Williams has worked in the front office for the Sixers and the Kings. This is a serious organisation that plans on being around for a long time and fundamentally changing both the NCAA and AAU Basketball structure.

What is the Overtime Elite schedule?

Currently, Overtime Elite doesn’t have any dates for fixtures. Through the development of the league, it is clear that OTE teams will compete against each other, as well as teams across the USA and the world. Of course all of their home games will be in Atlanta, where the academy is based. OTE being committed to providing the best development for their players means they will be looking to play against the best players that they can. Check out the official site for updates.

Who has signed up for Overtime Elite?

So far, Overtime Elite has announced 16 players that have signed up. Overtime’s first two signings were brothers Matt and Ryan Bewley, both five star prospects that are eligible for the draft class of 2024. It was a big opening statement from OTE, as they were able to immediately sign the number 2 player in the country in his class in Matt Bewley, having seen him turn down offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Florida State to sign with OTE. Since their first two signings, OTE have gone on to sign another three, five star recruits, including the number 1 point guard in the 2022 class Jazian Gortman. OTE have also not just looked domestically for talent, they have successfully scouted players from overseas, who otherwise may have followed players like Luka Doncic and joined up with clubs like Real Madrid. This includes talented Dominican point guard Jean Montero, who is expected to be a first round pick in the 2022 NBA draft. OTE will be pleased to see that they are really able to challenge top schools for these players, as well as poaching players from top academies from around the world, having already signed players from Real Madrid, the team that most recently produced Luka Doncic. OTE seems to be offering more NBA focused development opportunities to these players than even national champions Baylor possibly could. Not to mention they’re being paid at the same time.

What is the Overtime Elite salary?

Each of the players signed to the program receives a guaranteed salary of $100,000 per year, as well as bonuses and shares of equity in Overtime. One of the major aims of OTE that is very clear departure from the traditional high school/AAU to NCAA route, is that on top of salary, Overtime Elite encourages their players to earn money from the use of their name and likeness. Something which has only just become legal in the NCAA after federal laws were passed. Players also retain the right to sign sponsorships with sneaker companies like Nike, Adidas and Puma. OTE also provides a wide range of benefits that are unmatched by any high school across the county. They provide their players with full health care coverage. One of the things in the compensation that is incredibly important more to parents of these athletes, is that players are provided with financial protection if they get an injury that hurts their basketball career, as well as providing up to $100,000 in college tuition to players if they decide that they do not want to play in the NBA.

Who Owns Overtime Elite?

Overtime, the media company, was set up by Dan Porter, an American entrepreneur who has specialised in digital content. Porter had previously worked at WME-IMG, where he had set up their esports wing. He has previously been president of Teach for America and former CEO of OMGPOP. Porter used some capital from previous ventures when setting up Overtime, but he has led three different rounds of private funding. In total, Overtime has raised $113m from three different rounds of investment. OTE has a star studded list of investors, with Drake and Jeff Bezos now backing Overtime as it prepares for launch. 

How can I buy Overtime shares?

The company, Overtime, is now estimated to be worth $250M. OTE is also proud of the fact that over 25 NBA players including Trae Young and Devin Booker have backed the league financially. Overtime is a privately invested company, meaning it does not operate on the stock market. Its shareholders are people or companies with large amounts of money to invest.

Does Overtime Elite Basketball affect NCAA Eligibility?

Yes, players who sign for Overtime Elite to play basketball gain professional status and at that point forfeit their eligibility to play in the NCAA. This means that if a high school student signed for OTE, and then wanted to play in college, he would be unable to. This would not just affect access to a potential athletic scholarship, but would even prevent them joining the team as a walk on. This is all based on the NCAA’s current rules. As we saw this year, cracks are starting to appear as legal challenges mount. While Overtime Elite signs players until they are of an age they become NBA eligible, they also offer a $100,000 grant for any recruit that decides not to pursue basketball professionally and wants to attend college. Could there be a future where NCAA rules change to allow these players to “walk on” to college teams? Surely at that point they would be the definition of a student athlete?

Will Overtime Elite change Basketball?

Overtime elite is very similar to the vastly successful Soccer academies of Europe. While these are attached to clubs and have the primary motivation of developing assets they can eventually put on the field in high level competition or sell on for profit to other clubs, the NBA draft structure prevents this. Overtime Elite’s goal is to drive interest in the players’ signs, gain revenue from social media posts, reality TV shows, broadcast games, streamed highlights etc. All while helping these players become NBA ready. Overtime Elite is focused on the top top percentage of talent, so it needs those players to want to sign up with them. The best way for it to succeed is for it’s graduates to go on to successful NBA careers, both on court and financially through the skills they have learned. While it is a private entity looking to make money off of players who are still classed as children, always something to be wary of. They do seem to have aligned goals in their recruits succeeding and are putting things in place to help them succeed. It appears to be in a large way a reaction to the unfair strangle hold the NCAA has had on America’s top sporting prospects for years. All this is a great sign that Overtime Elite will succeed, but how long will they be the only ones operating on a model like this?