Today I share not one, but two links recommending an upcoming documentary on the NCAA and US college sports.
The documentary in question is Schooled: The Price of College Sports. Adapted from Taylor Branch’s The Cartel and The Shame of College Sports, the documentary promises to “…[present] a hard-hitting examination of the NCAA’s treatment of its athletes and amateurism in collegiate athletics….” It premieres on October 16 at 8PM ET on EPIX.
I’ve previously written about The Shame of College Sports here on Wages of Wins; I think that it is probably the greatest article ever written on the exploitation of NCAA “student-athletes”. For that reason alone, I suspect that this documentary will be excellent. But don’t just take my word for it; here are some thoughts from Jonathan Weiler of The ESPN Watch:
‘A brilliantly devised, evil scheme.’ The quote is from Arian Foster, the Houston Texans’ star running back. He is referring to big-time college athletics and says it in the forthcoming documentary, Schooled: The Price of College Sports. The three-minute trailer is damning. In it, Foster says that it was frequently true that, while playing his college ball at Tennessee in front of 107,000 fans at Nealon stadium, Foster didn’t have enough money for food or rent. He admits that he was “getting money on the side” during his final season with the Vols, wondering whether the admission would draw an NCAA investigation to Knoxville.
Based on the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning civil rights historian Taylor Branch, “Schooled” delivers a withering, clear-eyed critique of the college sports status quo. The system, the film argues, is rigged. Downright immoral. The players know something is wrong. The administrators pretend otherwise. The fans are too busy being fans to care. One scene in particular stands out. Branch attends a national convention of campus athletic directors. From behind a card table at the front of a hotel ballroom, amateurism’s overseers share their thoughts about the hot-button issue du jour: money, and who has the right to receive it.
“I think all of these student athletes are getting a great, grand experience,” says one speaker. “And if they have needs that are unmet, then they ought to take on loans like the rest of us did.”
“As athletic directors, we care deeply about student-athletes,” says another. “I never thought, in my time as a former student-athlete, that I needed to be paid more than I was.”
Branch then addresses the room.
“I don’t doubt that people care about athletes,” he says. “But if you care about somebody, deal first with their rights. Imagine this: suppose the university were to say we’re going to have amateurism for all the students on our campus, so we can be consistent. And that means that you can’t get a job at the campus bookstore if you’re an undergraduate, that you can’t be paid as a teaching assistant if you’re a graduate student. You’re an amateur.”
The camera cuts to the audience. Stone faces abound.
Hruby’s article is great in its own right, as it talks about far more than just the documentary. Think APU is just the name of the owner of the Kwik-E-Mart on The Simpsons? Hruby will tell you that it stands for All Players United — “a[n] NCAA protest and reform campaign led by the National Collegiate Players Association, an advocacy group comprised of current and former college athletes and supported by the U.S. Steelworkers union.”
Ever hear about the NCAA’s Student Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC)? Me neither. Read the whole article and you’ll even find out something you probably never knew about Shane Battier.