The institution of college basketball is in a rough place right now, as more and more information has come out regarding the FBI’s investigation into the more nefarious aspects of the game. Namely, the FBI’s investigation has focused on money in the sport from sneaker companies and how it can play an influence in recruiting.
It has also led to a widspread discussion about amateurism and whether players who help schools generate millions upon millions of dollars should get a cut. Plus there’s been a conversation about how the way basketball currently works in America lends itself to something like this, as high schoolers essentially must go to college for one year before heading to the NBA, so someone is theoretically going to pay them.
This has apparently gotten Australia’s National Basketball League, which famously offered current Thunder rookie Terrance Ferguson an alternative before the 2017 NBA Draft, thinking about offering an alternative to highly-regarded prospects who’d rather get paid legally. ESPN brings word of the “Next Stars” program, which the NBL recently launched to attract players.
After benefiting from the exposure of helping Ferguson reach the NBA, the NBL has formalized a rule that should make it much easier for future prospects in his mold to forgo college and develop in Australia instead. As part of its new “Next Stars” program, the NBL will be adding an extra roster spot next season intended strictly for draft-eligible players such as Ferguson, the league told ESPN. Sources told ESPN those players will be paid 100,000 Australian dollars gross guaranteed (approximately $78,000 U.S.), funded directly by the league.