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The Aquilian

Should high school-Age basketball players be paid?

The NBA is the most skilled and prestigious professional basketball league in the world. Only 450 players play in the NBA at any given time with thousands of young, talented players hoping to get a chance to suit up for a team. Basketball players in college devote incredible amounts of time to the sport, and while their talent generates exorbitant amounts of money, they receive no compensation outside of scholarship opportunities. 

High school players are in similar situations, and while most high school teams are not popular enough to generate this kind of money, some are. This raises the question of whether high school-age basketball players should be able to be paid if the revenue they generate warrants it. 

These players are teenagers, and paying them may cause other problems to arise. The vast majority of young basketball players seeking to enter the NBA will not make it. Of the thousands of high school players, only dozens may be drafted, and even less will see playing time. Paying high school athletes may cause them to pay less attention to the academic side of high school; this may result in countless students not receiving proper education, not attending college and not having a plan for the future. 

Overtime, a sports media company, is starting a high school basketball league that will provide a salary of $100,000 to about 30 players. However, players who sign with this league will forfeit the ability to play high school and college level basketball. The idea is that this league will replace college and prepare these athletes for professional basketball. While this may be a crucial step towards reaching the NBA, 16-18-year-olds must make a major life decision when considering to play in this league.

For college-level basketball, resolving this issue is much easier. The athletes in question are over the age of 18, and their games generate money through sponsorships, commercials and spectators. These athletes should be paid due to the revenue they bring in. High school athletes, on the other hand, should not receive payment of this scale due to the inability for them to attend college and the risks for the future.

 Overtime’s league, Overtime Elite, will be paying high school-age students hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it is not necessary. Ideally, high school basketball players attend college and are compensated for their talents, as mentioned before. Education is important, and these athletes are too young to make decisions that may have significant effects on their futures. It is better for these athletes to spend their high school years in high school rather than throw away the opportunity to attend college if they change their minds.

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