college basketball

New in-season college basketball tournament could pay players: Report

Teams competing in "The Players Era Festival" reportedly will receive $1 million in NIL payouts to divide between its players.

NCAA basketball court
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NCAA basketball players could soon be getting another opportunity to cash in.

Another payday could be coming for college athletes.

Plans are being finalized to hold an in-season men's basketball tournament later this year in Las Vegas that would be driven by name, image and likeness compensation for participating players, according to CBS Sports

Programs competing in the eight-team tournament dubbed "The Players Era Festival" will receive $1 million in NIL payouts to divide among its players.

The winning team of the tournament, depending on the bracket format, reportedly will be awarded other NIL opportunities believed to be around $1 million that would be distributed to players.

Players in the tournament, which is set to be held Thanksgiving week, will also have to fulfill off-court obligations surrounding the games to earn sponsorship money. CBS Sports reported that players involved will also have the opportunity to secure long-term NIL contracts.

Alabama, Houston, Notre Dame, Oregon, Rutgers, San Diego State and Texas A&M reportedly are set to participate, with the final team for the 2024 tournament still to be determined.

The NCAA will look to expanded to a 16-team field for the 2025 tournament, with Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan, Syracuse and Virginia in consideration.

The Athletic's Sabreena Merchant joined LX News to talk about LSU’s Angel Reese and the landscape of women’s college basketball.

The format for the tournament, whether single-elimination or not, has not yet been decided. Games are expected to be held at either T-Mobile Arena, MGM Grand Garden Arena and Michelob ULTRA Arena on Nov. 26, Nov. 27 and Nov. 29.

The event is also expected to include live music and other attractions similar to that of an NBA All-Star Weekend celebration.

The tournament will be in compliance with NCAA rules, which prohibits pay-for-play but in 2021 granted college athletes the ability to receive NIL compensation. That led to some high-profile athletes, particularly in football and basketball, earning millions while playing collegiately. It also created a new factor in recruiting, with monetization becoming a priority in college selection for some athletes. 

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