Ben Simmons has called out the NCAA in a Showtime Sports documentary, saying the association “wasted” his only year at Louisiana State University by making him attend classes.
“The NCAA is really f—ed up,” said Simmons in the documentary, called One and Done, which followed the talented youngster on his journey from Australia to Montverde Academy, LSU and eventually the grand stage of the NBA.
“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 said, according to ESPN.
The NCAA has long been criticised for making millions whilst the players receive nothing from the organisation or their schools except their scholarships. Not only are college athletes not receiving a cut of the NCAA’s profits, they are also unable to accept any gifts or complementary items under the organisation’s eligibility criteria.
The new Philadelphia 76ers recruit said during his time at LSU, he would be offered luxury cars, watches, jewellery and even houses. These revelations should make an impact around the sport, if they haven’t done so already. “It literally is anything,” explained the Aussie. “People coming at you, offering you things.”
Simmons said the promise of a free education is “pointless” for one-and-done players like himself who aren’t going to college to study and are only there to play basketball and get themselves ready until they become eligible for the NBA Draft.
The young boy from Melbourne claims he went to class in his first semester only so he could maintain his academic eligibility and play in the second semester. “I got Bs and Cs, I’m not going to class next semester because I don’t need to,” he argued.
After feeling like he had been used by the NCAA, Simmons now wants to be a voice for college athletes who can’t speak for themselves. “I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college.”
The argument in favour for paying college athletes heated up recently, with the CBS and Turner signing an eight-year, $8.8 billion extension with the NCAA to broadcast March Madness through 2032. This means the NCAA is earning a billion dollars per year for the broadcast rights to a tournament starring unpaid players.
The schools are also making millions off their players. In the 2014-15 season, Duke made over $33 million just from their men’s basketball program while the team’s coach, Mike Krzyzewski, is being paid approximately $9.7 million per year.
It’s easy to see Simmons’ point. College athletes are putting in hours upon hours between training and studying, only to not see a cent from their hard work while their coaches, schools and governing body make millions.
Does the baller have a point? Does the college system abuse their players for the sake of profit?