How NILs Can Help Keep College Basketball Players In School

When the NCAA began allowing college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL), many observers decried it as the end of college sports as we know them. Although it may still be too early to make that call, according to a recent article by Athleticismit appears that the NILs are actually encouraging some college basketball players to stay in school longer.

These players — primarily those with “near-NBA” levels of talent and skill — now seem to be staying in school rather than jumping into the NBA at the first opportunity. The availability of NILs is the main reason, but other factors are also at play.


While a college basketball player may declare for the NBA draft, that doesn’t always mean he’s a lock on earning a spot on the roster, or even getting drafted. While bad advice, bad judgment, or bad timing can affect when a college player leaves school with remaining eligibility, a bad result can leave that player out of the league.

Once a basketball player leaves college, their options are the NBA, the developmental G League, or other minor league circuits. Apart from the NBA, none of the other leagues are very lucrative. But thanks to NILs, a player can stay in college and theoretically earn the same amount of money or more than they would in a minor league circuit. And don’t forget that a college basketball scholarship also benefits free room and board, which combined with a player’s ZERO income makes staying in school a more financial choice. sensible. Additionally, staying in college can also allow more time for…


With the lure of NBA money, many players entered the draft before they had a full NBA skill set. Whether it’s a March Madness hero cashing in while in demand or just a gamer dropping out of college to earn a living, the allure of a salary and sponsorship income often pushed players to a level they were not developmentally ready for.

But now that NIL offers can provide an income for college athletes; basketball players stay in school longer to enhance their athletic development. In fact, at the highest levels, some players may earn more through college NILs than they would in a development league. For players who may not have a full, NBA-ready game, staying in school gives them more time to develop in those areas and more opportunities to demonstrate their potential to professional scouts.

Additionally, when the NBA lowers its draft minimum to 18, fewer so-called unique players will take college roster spots. And it will open up more scholarships, playing time, and development opportunities for other players. With a ZERO form of income, that extra playing time will leave them with more time to raise their profile for a professional career.


Now that college basketball players can earn an income and continue their development while on scholarships without going pro; more players will stay to earn their college degrees. For those who may not have all the skills to turn pro, earning a degree while getting paid to thrive in college is a no-brainer. Will all college basketball players stay and graduate in the NIL era? Probably not, but the ability to earn a degree as a back-up plan if a pro career doesn’t pan out will keep more college basketball players in school for the duration of their eligibility.

Traditionalists believe the NIL will professionalize college athletics and ruin their favorite sports. But, for college basketball players, NIL creates a pathway to stay in school, improve their games, and still graduate.

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