The NCAA reckoning is finally here.
For far too long, players who’ve violated rules, like selling autographs or getting free shit like clothes and food, have been the victims of a corrupt and hypocritical system. With a massive scandal playing out featuring some of the biggest schools right in the middle of March Madness, we can only hope the mighty NCAA begins to crumble before our very eyes.
Student-athletes still have to sit out a year if they decide to transfer, but a head coach can quit a job mid-contract one day and be coaching another team the next. Some have compared the system to slavery or indentured servitude because a good majority of the athletes playing in money-generating college sports like basketball and football are poor black kids. Poor black kids that should be grateful powerful white men give them free room and board and an education. I guess that part is better than slavery because slaves weren’t allowed to read or write.
Of course, it’s not the exact same thing as slavery, but it’s the same idea, no? I mean, slaves were fed and given a place to sleep while their masters slept like babies on the cotton they picked. NCAA president Mark Emmert and his cohorts eat lobster every night while some of the nation’s top athletes can’t afford a meal at Applebee’s. Their coaches aren’t even allowed to buy them dinner or have them over their million-dollar houses for a barbeque without the fear of violating some absurd NCAA rule.
It’s like LeBron James said. These kids aren’t recruited to get an education, they’re at their particular school to make a Final Four appearance, to make a bowl game, to win a national championship, to help the coach get a bigger contract somewhere else, to help a conference get a TV deal. There’s money being made, hand over fist, and the people who put in the most work deserve a piece of the pie. Because when a star athlete tears an ACL before entering the draft, they’re fucked. Sure, they’ll have an education, but they also should’ve been able to make money off their likeness—or at least get something considering all the rules they have to follow if they want to earn cash at a job.
This is why former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA, Electronic Arts (EA Sports), and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) over EA’s video game in which there was a player on the 1995 UCLA championship team with his same bald head, skin tone, jersey number, height, weight, and position, who, like him, shot left-handed. Not only was that done without his permission, but he wasn’t compensated for it. It’s remarkable that it took until 2009 for a former college athlete to call the NCAA out on this because I remember playing those games and knowing which players were which by either jersey number or position. However, the case remains in limbo due to a Supreme Court decision that denied both petitions filed by O’Bannon and the NCAA.
I mean, these fucks over at the NCAA asked Trae Young how he knew Lil Wayne after a photo surfaced of the Oklahoma guard standing on stage with the rapper at an Oklahoma City concert. This was a problem in their eyes because Weezy owns Young Money APAA, a sports agency. And remember when Terrelle Pryor got suspended for five games in 2011 for selling memorabilia? He made Ohio State God knows how much in ticket sales, merchandise, etc. but he wasn’t allowed to sign a jersey with his name on it.
The shenanigans don’t stop with the players, either. During a press conference on Thursday involving UNC-Greensboro head coach Wes Miller, he was told to keep his Starbucks cup off the table because only Powerade ones were allowed, according to reporter Rick Bonnell.
Even though it's dictated by the NBA, the one-and-done rule is also self-serving for the NCAA. They were tired of always missing out on the top-tier talent like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and LeBron. The rule was put in place in 2005, two years after LeBron was drafted. You think that was a coincidence? He knows what’s up and had the best quote when asked about the ongoing NCAA scandal at numerous schools saying:
"Obviously, I've never been a part of it, so I don't know all the ins and outs about it. I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football. I know how much these college coaches get paid. I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids...I've always heard the narrative that they get a free education, but you guys are not bringing me on campus to get an education, you guys are bringing me on it to help you get to a Final Four or to a national championship, so it's just a weird thing."
Remember that quote while you’re watching the NCAA Tournament this weekend. Those kids that worked all their lives to get a chance to play on this stage have sacrificed so much—and receive so little in return. They’re not allowed to make money off their likenesses, they’re only allowed to entertain us. It’s not about an education, it’s only about the money. Watch Blue Chips or The Program if you don’t believe me.