The topic of the NCAA making money off of student athletes has been controversial, with players such as University of Wisconsin basketball player Nigel Hayes and former UConn Huskies basketball player Shabazz Napier speaking out about the issue.
However, while those players have spoken out about the topic, neither have the magnitude or stature like this summer’s No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons. Simmons spoke up about the NCAA and their mistreatment of players in the Showtime documentary “One and Done”, which is set to air on Friday.
“One and Done” highlights Simmons’ journey from growing up in Australia, to playing high school basketball in the states, his one year at LSU, and finally the 2016 NBA Draft.
In regards to the NCAA, Simmons did not mince words on how he felt about the organization and how they really don’t care.
“The NCAA is really f—ed up,” he said via ESPN. “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”
Simmons makes a valid point on how the NCAA wants “student athletes” to be good in the classroom and on the court, but they spend so much time perfecting their craft that there isn’t enough time in the day, let alone a semester to get their education.
Simmons also talked about the temptations he faced in college from agents and shoe companies, which we hear a lot about when it comes to star athletes.
“Bentley, a Wraith Rolls-Royce, watches, jewelry, a house … anything. It literally is anything. People coming at you, offering you things,” said Simmons.
Finally, in the documentary, Simmons said that the NCAA used him for money and it’s time for him to be a voice for college athletes.
“The NCAA is messed up,” he said. “I don’t have a voice. … I don’t get paid to do it. Don’t say I’m an amateur and make me take pictures and sign stuff and go make hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars off one person. … I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college. I’m here because I have to be here [at LSU]. … I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”
To be honest, it’s great to see a player of Simmons’s stature stand up to the amateur sports monopoly known as the NCAA. He has the platform to do it and people will listen to him.
But will the “right” people listen to him? That is the question that has yet to be answered.