New 3-on-3 tournament will have college seniors playing for $100K during Final Four
An incredibly fun idea has been put on the table for next year
College basketball players could have a chance to play for money during next year's Final Four.
Intersport, a marketing company based out of Chicago, announced on Tuesday the creation of the "3-on-3 College Hoops Invitational." It's a three-day tournament that will take place in San Antonio, the host city for next year's Final Four, and will feature college basketball players vying, via bracket play, for a $100,000 prize. The event is planned for March 30-April 1.
It's the first tournament of its kind -- for money -- at the college level. The only players eligible to participate are seniors who have exhausted their eligibility and therefore are not expected to be subject to NCAA violations for receiving impermissible benefits. Intersport has organized the annual college 3-point and slam dunk contest, held at the Final Four, for the past 29 years.
"As with their 3-point shooting contest and dunk contest, this event is not associated with the NCAA or the Final Four," NCAA director of media coordination David Worlock told CBS Sports. "That's the only comment we have at this time."
Just as participants for the 3-point and dunk events are determined by Intersport -- with the help from conference representatives -- teams participating in the 3-on-3 College Hoops Invitational will be invite-only and selected by Intersport after consulting with conference officials.
"The game of 3-on-3 basketball continues to gain momentum thanks to its recent addition to the Olympics in 2020 and further development at the professional and grassroots levels," Intersport vice president of sports properties Drew Russell said in a statement. "Based on our storied and successful history of creating and producing live college events for more than 30 years, Intersport is perfectly positioned to bring 3-on-3 basketball to the college game. We've been in the planning stages for months and are excited to bring this new and exciting opportunity to market for the very first time."
International 3-on-3 rules dictate: a half-court game, a four-man roster, a 12-second shot clock, 1-pointers inside the arc, and 2-pointers outside of it; and the first team to 21 -- or the leading team after 10 minutes -- wins.
With a four-man team, each college senior would win $25,000. Seniors who would concurrently be participating in the Final Four would not be eligible.
The event was the brainchild of Russell and Intersport CEO Charlie Besser. Intersport communications manager Steve Flaherty told CBS Sports that his company has a good relationship with the NCAA, and added: "I've spoken to my colleagues and they've informed me that the 3-on-3 event does not violate any NCAA eligibility rules for participating athletes. We always put the best interests of the athletes first and are only inviting athletes that are no longer eligible to play NCAA basketball."
Flaherty said only one team per conference will be represented, but it's not yet known how many, or which, conferences will be chosen. Also to be determined is whether the bracket will be single or double elimination. Flaherty said an update on those details, plus possible television and digital distribution plans, should come near the start of college basketball's regular season in November.
"At the end of the day, we're looking to put on the best event possible," Flaherty said.
Notable seniors this season include Duke's Grayson Allen, Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson, Kansas' Devonté Graham, West Virginia's Jevon Carter, Seton Hall's Angel Delgado, North Carolina's Joel Berry II, Xavier's Trevon Bluiett and Georgia's Yante Maten.
Basketball and 3-on-3 tournaments have long been a thing, but only recently have they come back into the mainstream. The Big 3, a 3-on-3 league featuring myriad former NBA players that was started by hip-hop mogul Ice Cube, is about to wrap up its first season.
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