The actions of the NCAA and their treatment of student athletes has long been a major issue for me. I have developed a small reputation through my writing and broadcasting career for being outspoken towards the sporting monopoly that is the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
I have long been enamored with large media corporations seemingly backing up the corrupt system that makes them multi-millions of dollars a year. The only major writer/broadcaster who regularly speaks out about the issue is the fantastic Jay Bilas, ESPN College Basketball analyst. Large corporations seemingly devote very little if any time to the discussion, let alone a full documentary or over an hour on the issue.
Needless to say I was delighted when I was invited to watch a screening of the documentary ‘Schooled: The Price of College Sports’ and to give my take on it.
It’s an absorbing, intelligent and provocative take on the issue that is all too often disregarded with quotes such as; ‘it’s always been done’ and that the thought of paying student athletes would ‘never work.’ Without a more detailed and meaningful discussion.
Too not give a one sided take on the documentary that features the likes of; Arian Foster, James Franklin, Bob Costas and Jay Bilas I passed it along to my colleagues at UKEndZone.com to get their thoughts and impressions.
If you ever asked the question “why are so many underclass men entering the NFL draft?”, this film has many of the answers you seek.
“Schooled: The Price of College Sports” takes the viewer into the world of college sports, a multi-billion dollar professional enterprise, carried out by amateur “student athletes”.
The rise of the NCAA from a little noted union into the one of the most powerful, and profitable, governing bodies in the whole world of sport is tracked, as we are shown the evolution of sponsorship and media rights deals worth fortunes, for which the players receive nothing, except their degree. But even this is questioned, as the ethical conduct of some colleges is questioned, leading to the comment “These kids may get a degree, but they don’t get an education.”
Amongst those who speak in the film is Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, who draws the parallel between the star of the college, performing deeds on the field propelling his team to victory, to the student who has to call his coach and beg for food. Most heart-breaking of all is the story of Kent Waldrep, a TCU athlete recruited to play football for his school, only to be critically injured on the field and have the college seemingly wash their hands of him for injuring himself during “an extracurricular activity.”
Whatever your views on students being paid to play college sports, this film challenges you to look at the issue from the side of perhaps the greatest oppressed mass in the sporting world.
Schooled: The Price of College Sports is a fantastic documentary that delves deep into the relationship between the NCAA and so-called ‘student-athletes’, and questions how fair the relationship really is. It aims to publicize the exploitation of college athletes with facts, testimonies, interviews and history to back it up. A fantastic piece of work, the documentary will be sure to leave you questioning the very foundation of amateur sports in higher education.
Tom Roper –
Schooled: The Price of College Sports, blows the lid clean off the NCAA and it’s corrupt treatment of student-athletes across all its participating colleges and universities. It’s no great secret that the NCAA has positioned itself as the dictator of college athletics and, ultimately, the pathway for any young man or woman wanting to pursue a future in professional sports, but this absorbing and engaging documentary tells the cold, hard facts straight as to exactly the lengths the NCAA has gone and is willing to go too to pocket every single dollar it can make off the back of its unpaid sports-stars and whilst the NCAA continues to try and hide in plain sight, establishing it’s code of conduct as to being for the greater good of the game and the young people in it, to protect them from the dangerous cultures that money can so often create, such as greed and the influences of commercialism, but when you consider how much the NCAA feed off this themselves it becomes clear very quickly how hypocritical and how much of a facade that actually is.
Without choosing to term it softly, effectively, the NCAA runs an extortion racket against these young men and women. With a student-athlete’s scholarship, the money they require to survive on, not even meeting what colleges and universities deem a suitable amount, the NCAA continues to get richer faster and quicker than even some of the most recognizable blue-chip companies around the globe, McDonalds for example. The players have no control or any right to make any extra finance from their freshman to their senior year, whilst other students can go out and get a part-time job they are too busy studying, practicing or playing and despite the $12 billion the NCAA makes a year off all its sports, they do not even deem it right to give players enough money to eat properly, let alone earn a very basic salary for their hugely significant roles in being the very reason that these sports make the money that they do.
It is a one-way street for these young people too, the film’s most damning reflection is, that since 2006, only three players combined have gone on to play in the NFL and the NBA without having played in the NCAA first. So any youngster with a dream of professional sports faces the stark reality of being trapped into this system and basically being used as money-making machines for at least two years, in football’s case anyway, before they can escape and actually begin to reap the benefits of their many great talents. Well, of course, those are the ones who make it to the pros, which is still a small percentage of the amount of sportsmen and women who go through the NCAA’s callous factory of unpaid labor and at the end have nothing to show for all their sporting efforts, achievements and service. They may have their academic qualifications, but they were just the key workers in one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world, and they don’t have a dime to show for it.
Schooled: The Price of College Sports delves honestly and thoroughly back through the past and up to the present, as far as the 2012 college sports year, of the NCAA and how it became the powerhouse it is and amateur athletics and its history and quickly begins to chip away at all its fallacies and misrepresentations in a precise and engaging manner, inter-tuned with a whole wealth of interviews of those involved with college sports, former and current. It explores the idea of amateurism and it’s transgressed through the ages and remained an outdated blueprint for the NCAA and its booming profit margins whilst college sports have developed beyond recognition and are now, especially in the modern era, anything but amateur, the only amateurism of it lies within the student-athletes wallets and purses.
Schooled: The Price of College Sports is available now for subscribers of Netflix as well as available to purchase here:
You can check out the clip below. All rights remain with Epix.