The Historical Basketball League
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 beyond just a college education. 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 also be a financial boon to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that participate in the league as the HBL's educational partners. The HBL gives schools and athletes an option outside of the traditional NCAA model – providing a choice of whether to go "pro" while in college or to be amateur about it.
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 their pivotal role in generating college sports’ revenues. 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 be the educational partner for the 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 HBL’s inaugural season will be in 2020. To maximize the educational benefits of attending college as an athlete, the HBL’s season will take place during the summer, with our opening tip off on June 19 (Juneteenth) and our championship tournament taking place over Labor Day weekend each year. Please explore the site and reach out with any questions you might have.