Ben Simmons is, by his own admissions, someone who absolutely didn't GAF about showing up to class during his time at LSU. However, that hasn't stopped him from going hard for other student-athletes.
In his new documentary One and Done, Simmons is looking to ruffle the feathers of other college players to take a stand against the NCAA about the conundrum of the organization making stupid amounts of money—billions of dollars for television rights alone—off amateur players who never see a red cent of it. At the same time, they're making players like Simmons ineligible for not going to class or having low GPAs.
"The NCAA is really fucked up," Simmons states in the film. "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."
The film is a compilation of moments from when Simmons was in high school, touted as the nation's top-ranked prospect at Montverde Academy near Orlando, Florida; through when he was the No. 1 overall draft pick by the 76ers last summer. Simmons wasn't allowed to forego his college eligibility out of high school because of the NBA's "one and done" rule requiring players to remain one full year out of high school before declaring for the NBA draft.
Simmons claimed that his sole year at LSU was a waste, and that he was too busy eluding the "temptations" thrown in his face to learn much of anything. "Bentley, a Wraith Rolls-Royce, watches, jewelry, a house...anything. It literally is anything. People coming at you, offering you things," he said about boosters, agents, and other sleazy blue chip mongers who treated him like Jesus Shuttlesworth.
At least he didn't sugarcoat his academic experience at LSU. "I got B's and C's; I'm not going to class next semester because I don't need to," Simmons said. "...I'm here to play, I'm not here to go to school."
One scene even showed how Simmons refused to go to class after he became academically eligible for the second semester.
"[Coach] Jones said, 'We need to make up a punishment if you miss another class,'" Simmons said. "I missed my next class about preparing for better study habits. I'm going to the NBA next season. Why bullshit if it's not going to help me?"
College athletes who remain eligible for the first semester are allowed to compete in the second semester, even if their academics tank.
"The NCAA is messed up," Simmons explains in the film. He adds, "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."
If the NBA ever decides to reprise their All Star Weekend "Stay In School Jam," you can bet that Ben won't be showing up to that either.
One and Done airs on Showtime this Friday night at 9 p.m. ET.