There are a lot of things wrong with the way the NCAA operates. That’ll be made evident in the Showtime special One & Done. The student-athletes (place the emphasis where you will) don’t get paid while the schools pocket enormous fortunes from their sports teams. It’s not a secret and it needs fixing. But man, new Philadelphia 76ers forward and last year’s No. 1 NBA draft pick Ben Simmons sure doesn’t know much about education. Simmons is the protagonist of One & Done, which is a nickname for the practice of star recruits hitting college for a year and then jumping to the NBA. (The NBA now has an age requirement that encourages the practice.)
By any calculation, it’s true that LSU took monetary advantage of Ben Simmons during his single year there — the school made far more money from Simmons than what Simmons received from LSU. But then Simmons mistakenly believes that education is the same thing as a degree, not an end in itself. The basketball star sounds poorly served by his enablers especially when he says he “can’t get much education” in a year at college. Huh? Why didn’t someone at LSU — or before that — explain to Simmons that education is a process of continual learning, and that it can be pursued in any time span? (Students have been known to acquire fluency in another language, for example, in a year.) Simmons sounds ridiculous as he says he gets “nothing” from the school, while admitting he didn’t attend classes. And it’s a shame, too, because Simmons’ grievances with the NCAA system are legit and need addressing. He’s just probably not the best guy to make the case.
Here’s Simmons talking about the NCAA on One & Done, which premieres Nov. 4 at 9pm on Showtime.
“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.”