May 25, 2024

Report: Creighton to Join Alabama, Houston, More in $1M NIL-Driven CBB Tournament | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 23: Head coach Greg McDermott of the Creighton Bluejays reacts during the first half of a game against the Oregon Ducks in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 23, 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Creighton has reportedly been tabbed as the eighth and final team to compete in the NCAA men’s college basketball Players Era NIL tournament during the 2024-25 season.

According to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, Creighton had been scheduled to be part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, but the organizers of the new NIL tourney will buy the Bluejays out of their contract.

Norlander and Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported earlier this week that the inaugural Players Era NIL tournament will be played during Thanksgiving week in Las Vegas later this year with $1 million in NIL (name, image and likeness) payouts on the line.

Alabama, Houston, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Oregon, San Diego State and Texas A&M are reportedly the other schools slated to take part in the event.

Per Norlander and Dodd, the tournament will provide $1 million to the NIL collective representing each team in the field, and the winning team’s players can earn additional NIL money.

The eight-team tournament is planned to have games played at the Vegas Golden Knights’ T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas Aces’ Michelob ULTRA Arena, and the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but talks of expansion in 2025 and beyond are already occurring.

Organizers of the Players Era Festival want to expand to 16 teams for the 2025-26 season, and Virginia, Duke, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Michigan and Kansas are reportedly teams in the mix to be added.

Additionally, Norlander and Dodd reported that “many” of the teams in this year’s tournament have already committed to play in it each of the next three years.

Creighton is a significant addition to this year’s field since the Jays have been one of the best teams in the nation in recent years.

Head coach Greg McDermott has led his team to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. During that stretch, the Bluejays have made it to at least the Sweet 16 three times, and they reached the Elite Eight in 2023.

Creighton also won the Big East regular-season title in 2020, however, the NCAA tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.

With three-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Kalkbrenner withdrawing his name from the 2024 NBA draft and deciding to return for the 2024-25 season, Creighton could be a strong threat to win the first Players Era NIL tournament.