Former NBA player David West is looking to start a basketball league to rival the NCAA. In a recent story by Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal, West detailed the inspiration for the Historical Basketball League and what he expects it to become. He said the league is planning to launch in the summer of 2020 and the players will be paid between $50,000 and $150,000 for the season.
"We need to create something fair," West told The Wall Street Journal.
The league is going to have 12 teams after picking from a pool of 20 cities. The players will have salaries and receive full college scholarships to attend schools or vocational programs near the cities where they play. Because the season takes place during the summer, the players will not have any athletic responsibilities to conflict with their education, unlike with the NCAA's model that has players competing at the same time while working on their educations.
"Because we played sports, we weren’t tied into the other networks in the university," West said. "We didn’t know who the engineers were."
In an effort "to bring what's going on under the table above the table," the league will also let players profit off of their likeness and sign individual endorsement deals with athletic brands.
The league is still trying to recruit top-tier players to help get the necessary investors to fund teams in each city, as well as to help get a broadcasting partner who will pay for the distribution rights. The league needs $30 million to $40 million to launch in 2020.
Along with West, Andy Schwarz is also a co-founder of the league. He was a consultant for the case brought by former UCLA player Ed O'Bannon regarding the NCAA using players' likenesses for video games. Cleveland attorney Ricky Volante will serve as the league's CEO.