UPDATE: Please read the HBL’s statement on the FBI investigation into NCAA programs, and on Title IX.
Welcome to the Historical Basketball League, the first national basketball league for college students that will substantially compensate college athletes based on their athletic ability. The HBL is founded on a simple idea: college sports are popular because they are sports played by college students, and that NCAA-style amateurism is a means of excluding athletes from the financial benefits of the league, rather than as a benefit to fans or athletes. The HBL will be also be a financial boon to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that will comprise the schools in the league. The HBL hopes to give schools and athletes an option outside of the traditional NCAA model.
The HBL sees the NCAA’s insistence on “amateurism” as a market opportunity for a college-based basketball. By showing that compensating college athletes will not lead to a collapse of the industry, the HBL represents an opportunity to change perceptions of the market value of athletes and of the supposed necessity for “amateurism” and thus improve the well-being of college athletes.
Under the current NCAA system, college athletes cannot receive athletic compensation in excess of the school’s official cost of attendance, despite playing a pivotal role in the revenues created from their athletic involvement. Many of these athletes come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds—approximately half of athletes at the power conferences come from families poor enough to qualify for Pell Grants. The HBL will allow college athletes to participate in the benefits generated by their efforts up-front and grant greater economic freedom and comfort during their college athletic careers.
The HBL is also based upon the idea that for too long, HBCUs have been left behind in the NCAA model, with many strapped for funding. HBL player salaries will come entirely from the league, representing an opportunity for HBCUs to recruit top-quality talent that they cannot recruit today, but at no additional cost. It’s a win-win for the athletes and the universities.
The start date for the HBL has yet to be determined, but we hope to start in the summer of 2018. Please explore the site and reach out with any questions you might have.
“Andy Schwarz is the most knowledgeable person I know on the multi-billion dollar industry that is college sports. Andy approaches the issues not with emotion or self-interest, but with facts and the science of economics. Whether one agrees or differs on the issues of amateurism and player compensation, the HBL plan that Andy and his co-founders Ricky Volante and Bijan Bayne have devised is designed to put that knowledge into practice. It will be fascinating to see how the economics actually works in the real world.” – Jay Bilas, ESPN
“My opinion has always been that the current model of sport development and delivery in America is irretrievably broken and change is needed and inevitable. This is especially acute with intercollegiate athletics. Simply put-athletes need more choices in sport and control over their own bodies with regard to profiting off athletic ability and marketing utility instead of making others rich. Andy Schwarz and his team are providing exactly what is needed with the HBL. This league will give athletes options to compete, profit and get an education. Imagine that-allowing college athletes the same rights as all American citizens? The HBL is an idea whose time has come.” –David Ridpath, Professor of Sports Business at Ohio University