Philadelphia 76ers No. 1 pick Ben Simmons has yet to suit up in an NBA game. He only played 33 games while in college at LSU. Even then, Simmons feels that it’s his duty to speak out against the governing body that oversaw his one year of amateur athletics.
In a wide-ranging Showtime documentary, Simmons called out the NCAA in a big way. He got pretty testy when broaching the topic of pay for amateur athletics. Heck, Simmons even dropped some words we wouldn’t want out children to hear.
“The NCAA is really f—ed up,” Simmons said on the documentary One and Done, which will air on Showtime on Friday night (h/t ESPN). “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.”
Simmons went on to call academics “pointless” for those who decide to attend college for just one year before making the jump to the NBA. It’s a change that was made years back after a crop of high school players decided to skip college altogether, including the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
The issue with amateur athletes not getting paid, more so than their own financial hardships, is that it creates a system in which outside forces break NCAA rules by offering said athletes money and gifts.
Simmons, who was already a star when he decided to commit to the Tigers, is no different.
The Sixers rookie indicated on this documentary that he was offered anything from a Bentley and a Rolls-Royce to a house. That’s sure to put the LSU basketball program on the radar of the NCAA here moving forward.
Pay for play has long been a contentious issue around the world of amateur athletics. Does one really believe these stars should not get some sort of stipend to help off-set the money they earn for their institutions? While they are there collecting payment in terms of scholarships, those tasked with coaching them are earning millions. In reality, that just doesn’t seem right.
Then again, it’s called amateur athletics for a reason. The whole goal has long been to get these young men good educations before they turn pro or opt for another career path. Once that changes, the entire idea of “amateur athletics” is thrown out the window.
As it relates to Simmons’ specific situation, he’s not wrong in assuming that academics are pointless for players of his ilk. He was required to attend college for one year. A requirement that didn’t come with him even considering remaining at LSU to earn a degree.