The college basketball world was back in the spotlight this past week for all of the wrong reasons. Instead of getting ready for another year of exciting March Madness, the NCAA world was rocked by widespread allegations involving illegal payments for players at the top basketball schools in the country. The investigation is still ongoing, but it will have a significant impact on many schools and top high school recruits that have a desire to turn pro without going to college for a year. However, the G League offers young basketball players another alternative route to the NBA, while still getting paid for their services. Here are just a few of the advantages and disadvantages of a rising basketball star going to college or playing in the G League.
Advantages of G League
One of the main selling points for joining the G League is that young players can skip college and get paid to play basketball. Instead of worrying about classes, a basketball player can focus on improving his game and competing with other skilled players on a nightly basis. Each G League team is associated with an NBA team, which provides an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents to that particular franchise.
Disadvantages of G League
One of the main drawbacks of the G League is that the pay is extremely low, and averages between $19,000 - $26,000. However, many basketball insiders believe that an increase in pay will provide a better alternative for some players that only go to college for one year. Besides the low pay, the national exposure is also very low, and it is difficult to find many G League games on TV. Instead of watching highlights of last night's game, most basketball fans only see the highlights of the NBA or NCAA basketball games. Ultimately, this has a negative impact on the marketability of a superstar athlete and makes joining a college team for a year a more attractive option.
Benefits of NCAA Basketball
While the corruption of college basketball appears to be widespread, it still has a much broader appeal to the average fan than any G League team. Nothing quite compares to March Madness with the thrilling buzzer beaters and Cinderella teams that make a surprise run to the sweet 16. The atmosphere on the college campus is electric, as a superstar player enjoys a much more festive environment than playing for the Maine Red Claws.
Drawbacks of NCAA Basketball
However, college basketball still needs to be fixed in many ways, which includes compensating players for their services. Currently, student-athletes are not eligible to receive any additional benefits beyond a scholarship. Any unauthorized payments that they receive will risk them becoming ineligible and causing the college to receive a stiff penalty that can lead to vacating wins and post-season suspensions. Of course, these penalties still do not defer many teams, as evidenced by the wide-spread scandal that is engulfing the top basketball colleges in the nation.
The argument between joining the NBA G League or NCAA will only continue to grow in the coming months, as we learn more details about the ongoing scandal. While the college experience dwarfs the NBA G League, a growing number of players in the NBA are calling for change and a strengthening of the NBA farm system. Currently, the G League has 26 teams and is expected to continue to expand in the future. NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes that each NBA team will eventually have its own farm team, which can provide further development for each young player in their dream of reaching the NBA. While college basketball remains the top choice for young players, only time will tell if it will continue to dominate or if the G League becomes an alternative path for players interested in making money as soon as they leave high school.