Portions of this series were developed from Rick Leddy’s NABC News report on iHoops and Maurice Wingate’s www.nychoops.net’s Will iHoops Take Over Youth Basketball report.
iHoops will look to engage in Elite Player Programs for boys and girls; a skills development program; and holding key events around the country for players to not only develop skills, but also showcase them. This sounds very much like the Nike Skills Academy’s that are currently directed by the Nike Grassroots people and run throughout different regions of the country. They are exceptionally well run, are selection based so there is limited room for some of the politics of youth basketball to enter into the selection of players invited.
Weiberg also has plans to encourage more people, with some emphasis on minorities, to become involved with officiating.
“I envision a system where we could more clearly define a path to advance as an official, in cooperation with people like John Adams (NCAA Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials),” said Weiberg. “We would like to provide encouragement to former players and others to become involved.”
The target for many of the initial programs is spring/summer 2010, and is contingent on the ability to generate revenue to support them.
Already, before the website has been launched or the first system is enacted there is quite a bit of discussion going on both is support of and questioning the purpose of iHoops.
NYCHoops.net recently discussed the new basketball initiative with both sides and provided interesting insight. Much of the debate seemed to stem on the fact that iHoops will be a “for profit” corporation. One person interviewed, Jim Hart a board member for the GBOA (Grassroots Basketball of America) indicated concern.
Another participant in the meeting was GBOA board member Jim Hart, director of the Albany City Rocks basketball team and tournament director for the Rumble in the Bronx. The Rumble in the Bronx is a high profile annual event that is held at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY during the non-live period. Hart walked away from the meeting with a completely different conclusion. “They were not clear on the direction,” says Hart via text, adding, “The NBA and NCAA invested 50 million dollars in this.”
One of the burning questions that remain regarding iHoops is, what is their real goal? Hart believes their goal is transparent saying, “They are a FOR-PROFIT company and they have to be profitable after three years. Doesn’t sound like they are there to clean things up. It’s hard to be about the kids and for-profit at the same time.”
Is the “FOR-PROFIT” moniker a real concern?. Is that concern intended to direct attention to the fact that iHoops will make money. I don’t claim to know all the ins-and-outs of establishing for profit or not-for-profit corporations. I don’t know who is making a profit or who is not in regards to iHoops or youth basketball. Personally, from being at many summer events and seeing the number of teams at an event, (some events up and beyond 200 teams, $300-$500+ per team for registration) and coaches packets (usually $150 – $700 for 100+ colleges) the same question could be raised: does it cost $100-170,000.00 to run a weekend basketball tournament for 200 teams? Is there profit involved in that organization’s directing of that tournament? Would then, the tournament organization be “FOR-PROFIT”?
There is nothing wrong with profits, nothing illegal with profits for either side.
Let’s see if this becomes a debate over money and profits or over teaching the game, structure, certification programs and systems.
For more information on iHoops log onto their website at www.iHoops.com. For more information on Grassroots Basketball of America log onto their website at http://gboahoops.com