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The Sports Daily
Jeff Van Gundy blasts NCAA over ‘student-athlete’ concept

ESPN broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy has delivered some epic fourth-quarter rants while calling games over the years, and he brought the heat in his most recent one on Wednesday night.

Van Gundy was on the call for the Timberwolves-Warriors game, and with Golden State clinging to a 20+ point lead midway through the fourth quarter, the play-by-play commentator set his sights on the concept of the “student-athlete.”

With LiAngelo Ball and two UCLA teammates recently getting arrested for shoplifting in China, Van Gundy questioned why they had to travel all the way out there to play in the first place.

“Why is UCLA and Georgia Tech in China to play a basketball game?” Van Gundy asked. “Missing all that school, and then force-feeding their fans the idea of ‘student-athletes.’ And if it’s such a cultural excursion, what is UCLA doing in the Louis Vuitton sunglass section? They can do that in Beverly Hills. You’re in charge of that league, I’ll tell you what the answer is, money. They’re trying to sell something to get more money.”

His broadcast partner, Dave Pasch, explained that this year’s UCLA-Georgia Tech matchup isn’t the first time the Pac-12 has scheduled a game in China.

“Part of the Pac-12 initiative to play in China, they’ve done that every year now for the last three years,” Pasch said. “So you don’t like them going overseas to play?”

Van Gundy then had this to say in response:

“Well, then stop the nonsense about ‘student-athletes,’ and I know they have tutors on there and all that. They’re always going to get fed the same lines.”

Van Gundy then questioned why the UCLA players were walking around China by themselves, and claimed being escorted by an adult could’ve prevented the shoplifting incident from happening. If interested, you can watch his entire rant in the video below.

The most interesting part about Van Gundy’s rant is that ESPN is carrying the UCLA-Georgia Tech game, so the NCAA and Pac-12 aren’t the only ones with a vested interest in Saturday’s matchup in China (which will be broadcast live in the United States late Friday night).

To his credit, Van Gundy did raise some good points in his rant. If “student-athletes” are, indeed, students, then why do they have to travel all the way to China for a basketball game? Clearly, they’re going to miss some classes during that time. He’s not the first person to call out the NCAA for the hypocrisy involved in its decision making, and he certainly won’t be the last.