The NBA has ruled that wearable data collected on players cannot be used to negotiate player contracts after releasing its latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.
While the framework of the agreement was agreed back in December, it has only recently been signed and takes effect from July 1 2017. The lengthy document outlines the definition of wearables stating that it is a device, "worn by an individual that measures movement information (such as distance, velocity, acceleration, deceleration, jumps, changes of direction, and player load calculated from such information and/or height/weight), biometric information (such as heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, blood oxygen, hydration, lactate, and/or glucose), or other health, fitness, and performance information."
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While a list of wearables including adidas miCoach elite systems, Catapult Sports ClearSky and Optimeye systems and VERT Wearable Jump Monitors are still green lit to be used during practice, devices are still not allowed to be used during games. Where things get interesting is the talk of that wearable data being used for player negotiations:
"The data may not be considered, used, discussed or referenced for any other purpose such as in negotiations regarding a future Player Contract or other Player Contract transaction (e.g., a trade or waiver) involving the player." Apparently there has been cases of that data being used by agents, which was covered by CBS Sports back in 2015. Any one found to have fallen foul of the rules will face a fine of up to $250,000.
The NBA's relationship with wearable tech has not been great. Last year, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova was caught wearing the Whoop, a wearable designed for elite athletes, for a number of games and was banned from wearing it again.
Devices are becoming more commonplace within the sport, particularly to aid players during training and for coaches to better monitor the condition of the roster of players. The Golden State Warriors have been using Catapult Sports devices to monitor performance in training to aid recovery between games, while the Miami Heat partnered up with Vert, makers of a wearable that can monitor elements like jump count and jump load.
Back in December last year, the NBA agreed to form a committee made up of officials and player representatives to explore whether wearable tech should be used out on the court. While the NFL and MLB have been more welcoming of wearables entering the field of play, it's still unclear whether the National Basketball Association will follow suit.
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