“… I’m here to play, I’m not here to go to school.”

So, Ben Simmons says the obvious…

“The NCAA is really f—ed up,” Simmons said on “One and Done,” a film that will air on Showtime on Friday night. “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.”

“The NCAA is messed up,” Simmons said. “I don’t have a voice. … I don’t get paid to do it. Don’t say I’m an amateur and make me take pictures and sign stuff and go make hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars off one person. … I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college. I’m here because I have to be here [at LSU]. … I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”

… and Mark Emmert interprets that as an attack on the NBA.  No, really.

“I was reading today where someone who played basketball at LSU was very unhappy with the one-and-done rule,” said Emmert, speaking Wednesday at LSU’s inaugural Sports Communication Summit at the Manship School of Mass Communication. “That’s not our rule. That’s the NBA’s rule. But (he says) it’s another stupid NCAA rule.”

Emmert said he agrees with Simmons, who was quoted in a documentary about him airing Friday on Showtime saying he felt he wasted his time in college because he didn’t have any time to work toward a degree, to a point.

“The one-and-done rule is something I’ve made no secret about how much I dislike it,” Emmert said. “It makes a farce of going to school. But if you just want to play in the NBA, you can do that. You can go to Europe or play at a prep school until you’re 19.

“I’d love nothing more than for the NBA to get rid of that rule. We’ve made it really clear to the (NBA) players union and the leadership of the NBA that we very much would like it changed.”

I’m sure you would, boss.  But the NBA isn’t in the business of managing your labor standards for you.

“If someone wants to be a pro basketball player and doesn’t want to go to college, don’t go to college,” he said. “We don’t put a gun to your head. First and foremost, it’s about being a student at a university. We’re in the human development business.

“If I wanted to hire someone to play football, why would I hire a 17-year-old (out of high school)?” Emmert asked. “Why wouldn’t I hire someone who just finished playing in the NFL or the CFL? If you want to hire a team, hire a team.

“Those kids have to be students. Philosophically, they have to be representatives of the university, so what we can and should be doing, which what we are doing today, is provide them with everything they possibly need to make them successful students and athletes.”

Well, plus put them in position to make lots of money for schools and Emmert’s organization.

You don’t care?  Then why was Simmons offered a scholarship at LSU in the first place?

Every time Mark Emmert speaks, an angel throws up.

46 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

46 responses to ““… I’m here to play, I’m not here to go to school.”

  1. Emmert is an @$$hat. Give these guys an opportunity to trade on their name and likeness if you aren’t going to go all the way to pay for play. There’s a reasonable compromise in here for everyone to get what they want.

    To Mr. Simmons, while the NCAA is hypocritical and corrupt, you should take your labor grievance to the NBA offices if you have a problem with “1 and done.”

    Like

  2. PTC DAWG

    I get Emmert’s point, he just didn’t say it very clearly. It is an NBA rule, he is right.

    Like

  3. Bill Glennon

    The player chooses to leave school early. The school would love for him to stick around. I understand the athlete is used, but the athlete uses the school too. This binary world where the student/athlete is always the victim and the school is always the villain is not a reality. Hypocrisy on both sides.

    Like

  4. Go Dawgs!

    Emmert is really bad at speaking. And thinking. And everything.

    However, Ben Simmons’ attitude in this piece sucks. I’m sorry, but college athletics should never become an enterprise where players aren’t required to be students. I have zero problem with players being paid; I want them to be paid. I have zero problem with players profiting off of their likeness. But it’s college sports. Emmert is right. There are options for basketball players to go play elsewhere in the year that the NBA has ruled that they aren’t allowed to play in the NBA. If you’re going to be in school, then you need to be in school. Simmons is a fool if he thinks there’s not a LOT you can learn in a year of college. You can learn a lot in a semester of college, even, if you just go to class and stay awake and listen. The idea that college is an all or nothing affair where it’s a waste of time if you don’t walk out of Baton Rouge with a degree is laughable. For one thing, if Simmons thought he had to get a degree out of it then he could have certainly stayed until graduation. Or he could get his free year of school and then pay the reast of the other three. He should spend a little time at the knee of LSU alumnus Shaquille O’Neal to learn about the importance of learning every day. I’m completely turned off by his attitude of willful intellectual ignorance. I hope he’s got someone smarter than he is looking after his money and I hope he plays a long time in the NBA. If not, well, things may not look great for him in 20 or 30 years.

    Like

    • CB

      My only defense of Simmons is this. It isn’t really fair to put a microphone in front of kids who have uneducated and narrow worldviews. His disposition is ignorant, but most of what he’s saying is factual. It’s only a matter of time before these kids get paid.

      Like

      • 81Dog

        if only there was some place an uneducated HS kid could go to be exposed to ideas, learning, maturity, where he could learn a little bit about fending for himself.

        Emmert is certainly a jerk, and the NCAA certainly makes a ton of money off scholarship athletes. But Simmons is a jerk, too. If he didn’t learn anything from his 6 months or so of dragging his ass around Baton Rouge just so he could kill time playing ball until he cashed in with the NBA, that’s on him. Maybe the rules of amateurism DO suck, but if he chose not to avail himself of any of the benefits of being in college for free, I have a hard time feeling sorry for him. It’s not like he was sentenced to go there. If he decided to go and mope, and not learn anything except what the airports in the SEC look like, that’s nobody’s fault but his. If LSU had paid him 500 grand, and the NBA still had a one and done rule, and he did the same thing, he’s still a jerk. Just a rich one.

        Like

        • CB

          Yeah, I guess he should have known better since he studied under all these wise AAU coaches. Sometimes it’s sickening how privileged middle aged white men project their own archaic values on young black men despite there being no possible way for these white dudes to understand the environment these kids came from. It’s easy to say work hard and go to school when you grew up in a household where both of your parents were constantly instilling those values in you. Most of these kids don’t have that advantage, and it changes EVERYTHING. I’m sure you can think of at least one or two examples of an underprivileged black kid who made it out of a tough situation and became successful. You’ll carry that exception around with you forever using it as an excuse to belittle people who were raised at a disadvantage because it makes you feel better about yourself.

          Like

          • 81Dog

            Bitter much? Stereotype much? Simmons didn’t grow up in Cabrini Green, he’s a middle class mixed race kid who grew up in Australia.

            Far as the rest of your self righteous blather goes, you don’t know a damn thing about me. And, apparently, if you don’t understand that just showering cash on basketball savants isn’t going to make things all wonderful for them, you haven’t been watching pro sports for the last 40 years.

            There are plenty of things to criticize about the NCAA, but Ben Simmons isn’t some kind of helpless victim here. Thank goodness paternal know it all like you are around to protect these delicate multi millionaires from a rule the NBA Players Association bargained for so pro veterans got more of the NBA cash.

            Come back when your IQ exceeds room temperature.

            Like

            • CB

              It’s not about making him a better human being. It’s about paying him what he’s worth. I’m not into legislating morality. Say what you want but it’s obvious from your point of view that you’re an old white dude from the south.

              Like

  5. Brandon

    Simmons’ rationale is just as hypocritical. “They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.” It’s not like they kick you out after a year. If you want an education, stay and get an education. The thing is… he could care less about an education.

    “If someone wants to be a pro basketball player and doesn’t want to go to college, don’t go to college,” he said. “We don’t put a gun to your head.”

    I actually agree with Emmert on this part.

    Like

    • Brandon

      (throws up in mouth after typing last sentence)

      Not defending the One and Done rule, I think its just as stupid. But, don’t sit there and act like the schools are ripping the opportunity for an education out from under you and kicking you to the NBA after one year.

      Like

    • Nah, LSU didn’t put a gun to Simmons’ head. It just begged him to play there for a year. They were more than fine with a temporary rental of his services.

      The NCAA on a high horse is just as full of bullshit.

      Like

      • Brandon

        It probably would have been better for Emmert to just keep his mouth shut I agree. But… he actually has a point here.

        Simmons’ attitude here just rubs me the wrong way. He CHOSE to go to LSU and go to school for a year for the additional national exposure he would get. Of course LSU was fine with that. But there were other options for him. And I’m sure one year in Baton Rouge as a rock star on campus imaginably with the lightest course load imaginable and tutors to do all the hard work for you was nearly intolerable. Hate it for the guy.

        Like

      • 81Dog

        SImmons on a high horse is just as much BS. You don’t like the work environment, go play in Europe. Or stay in Australia. Or at least, don’t complain about having to be a student if you sign up to play at a college.

        Like

  6. Positively Munson (formerly Skeptic Dawg)

    “They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.” One year? That’s a you problem Mr. Simmons. Don’t want to attend college for a year, receive free publicity and exposure, great training and competition against the top flight talent to test your wares? Then don’t go. Go play overseas or in the NDBL for a year.

    This is utter rubbish and complete nonsense. There is no argument that the NCAA, university presidents and AD’s destroyed college basketball with the one and done rule. That being said, playing collegiate sports is a mutually beneficial deal for both the universities and the kids. In addition to that, receiving a college scholarship is a wonderful privilege…not a right. If you know that professional sports is your ultimate goal, then make the most of your short time in college on the court/gridiron/diamond/field AND in the classroom.

    I have said for some time now that the universities should have the same acceptance/entrance standards for athletes and student body. Do away with the NCAA sliding scale and special entrance privileges for student-athletes. An athletic college scholarship more value than what these kids realize and there ar far too many adults ignoring that fact.

    Like

  7. CB

    Ben Simmons value to LSU > LSU’s value to Ben Simmons.

    And that’s not even close.

    How many LSU basketball games were televised nationally last season compared to the previous 5? I’d be interested to see that comparison. Simmons’ presence would have had the same effect at any school he attended so it’s not like LSU was doing him any favors.

    Like

    • 81Dog

      I guess you don’t know how Google works, but I count 3 ESPNU games and 1 ESPN2 game, the rest on the SEC Network. So, my guess is Ben Simmons added about 0 to the LSU tv package last year. The Deuce game was in a preseason tournament, the rest were conference games. And given that the SEC tv package was well in place long before Big Ben game to Red Stick, and LSU’s piece of that pie was predetermined, Ben didn’t add anything, tv wise.

      Now, maybe LSU fans bought some more tickets. Or sold a few more program adds, or got them a little more national attention because Mr. Magic 2.0 was there (and there’s no question he is a very talented player who anyone would have taken as a one and done), but it isn’t like he didn’t get any benefit, exposure wise, competition wise, or even just acclimation to the USA wise. If he chose LSU and didn’t like the atmosphere, that sounds like a mistake on his part. Sometimes, people make choices that are less than stellar, and they learn from them.

      I don’t have a beef with him. He’s a talented player, but an immature kid who’s likely been catered to because of his talent, which he is now cashing in on (and good for him, far as that goes). His basketball talent doesn’t make him any smarter or dumber about anything else, and much like most of us, he says and does some dumb stuff at 19 or 20. Sulking about having to go to class while on a basketball scholarship is one of them. He wasn’t exploited by The Man. He made a choice and just didn’t like the way it worked out. Tough luck, dude, Take your millions and try to move on.

      Like

      • CB

        Blah blah blah. I’m an old white dude who is totally out of touch with reality, and I will never change my mind regardless of the fact that NCAA collusion is in direct violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. I don’t care about facts, all I need is my narrow opinion.

        Like

  8. Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered–a lesson the NCAA, the conferences, and the university presidents are going to learn the hard way very soon.

    Like

  9. Twist words much?🙂

    I think you’d argue with Emmert over 2+2.

    Not caring whether Simmons goes pro or not is the same as not caring whether your kid goes to play in the yard or not caring if your brother borrows your car.

    Simmons’ comments appear to confirm 100% that he’s a millennial. (I’m an expert on this; I’ve spawned two of them.)

    Some of us aren’t going to be happy no matter how the baby is split.

    Like

    • BD, I know why the NBA does what it does. So does Mark Emmert. It’s not gonna change unless it’s in the pro’s best interest. So Emmert whining makes no difference here, except to cloak him in some bullshit moral deflection.

      Everybody in college athletics knows what a sham one-and-done is, yet not only do they tolerate it for the big bucks that star players bring, they willingly promote it. Or have you forgotten that LSU was selling Simmons to their fan base before he arrived on campus?

      Like

      • The Internet told me there are 346 college basketball teams. If there are 13 players per team, that’s 4,498 college basketball players each year. There are 30 NBA teams. If each team took a one-and-done player in both rounds of the NBA draft, that would equate to a rule affecting 1.3% of the college players a year.

        In other words, this isn’t as big of a deal as we’re making it out to be.

        There’s no doubt that the one-and-done rule props up college basketball to a degree. The few players a year that are one-and-gone lottery picks can make a big impact on the game (especially the tournament). But for the vast majority of NCAA basketball, it just doesn’t register.

        Was LSU marketing Simmons? I’m sure they did. But both sides had their eyes wide open to the transaction. The program got a player and the player got to pass the time until the lottery. What sort of value did Simmons warrant for that? Given dumpster fire season LSU had last year, I’d say not much.

        Like

    • Jack Klompus

      Ahhh the millennial argument.

      Like

  10. AusDawg85

    NCAA can seize some…just some…moral high ground by re-instituting the freshmen ineligible rule. We know that won’t happen, but that would truly be in the best interests of the STUDENT-athlete.

    Like

    • They could. But they won’t. Because they know those kids wouldn’t sign in the first place.

      Like

      • AusDawg85

        And they shouldn’t be signing these kids, but they do…for the $$$. Thus, there is no moral high ground for the NCAA, which is really the college presidents, which really shows a complete and total breakdown of any moral standards regarding college sports.

        I’m glad the World Series turned out so great. For as much as I got disgusted by MLB years ago, maybe I can get enthused about that again as CFB veers towards the cliff.

        Go Braves?

        Like

        • Aus, the Cubs have a player under contract for like $184 million and he hit like .200. Doesn’t that violate some moral high ground too? :\

          Like

        • Smitty

          “which is really the college presidents…” Amen. All any “education” administrator cares about is money. I was at a legislative hearing once, and a school superintendent was crying about not having enough money, and a member asked him “how much is enough” and he would not answer, b/c it is never enough for them. So the legislator said, “all you superintendents are like cats, if we keep giving you food, you will keep eating until you vomit.”

          Like

    • BWD

      Wouldn’t that be less fair to kids like Simmons and just piss off people even more?

      Like

    • Macallanlover

      Fabulous idea Aus, Emmert should put this on the agenda ASAP, he would be standing up for what he believes in and dare the schools to not vote it in if they are truly are about education first. Secondly, let’s have all athletes submit their applications to schools “in the blind”, let them be judged off their SAT/ACT scores and HS curriculum and grades just like other students should be admitted.

      Emmert is right, for once. Now own it. Simmons seems like a real beauty, never heard of him before, won’t know about him in the future. But if he brings this rule to a halt, people will have something favorable to say about him one day, but it won’t be this day. He might even find out how much “hundreds of thousands of millions” really is.

      Like

  11. 3rdandGrantham

    “If I wanted to hire someone to play football, why would I hire a 17-year-old (out of high school)?” Emmert asked. “Why wouldn’t I hire someone who just finished playing in the NFL or the CFL? If you want to hire a team, hire a team.

    Hmm…I don’t know, because (just guessing here) perhaps that 17 year old would be free labor and thus not cost you a dime? Oh yea, that 17 year old you alluded to just so happens to be an utter phenom who was taken #1 in the NBA draft, and is already far better than recently retired NBA players, or some scrub who plays in NBA D-League or Central bball Assoc.

    Like

    • That phenom could have also taken his talents overseas to play.

      Like

    • Smitty

      3rd, you seem to have missed the point. His point is that if Colleges start to pay (hiring players, looking ahead to the day yall all seem to relish, where there is no “free labor”) then a 23-24 year old with NFL experience may be a better deal than a 17 year old. You are correct there is the occasional phenom, but that may be the exception rather than the rule. And if that Phenom is better than a lot of current pro players who shouldn’t he be allowed to ply his wares where ever?

      Like

  12. John

    Mark Emmert is incapable of making a short and concise statement on issues like this and it always makes him look like a chump. Just say “this is the NBA’s rule and the NCAA does not like it and wishes they would change it” and you have an infinitely better statement. There is no need constantly mount your moral soapbox at every turn. The fact that he feels the need to try is telling.

    That being said… it really is the NBA’s rule. I’m not sure how the NCAA could change its policy to prevent “one and done” situations.

    Like

  13. When college athletics becomes a paid team that happens to be “sponsored” by a university, I’m done. And I really don’t like “one and done”. I would be just fine with university’s applying their admission standards across the board and only signing and playing students who value the free/reduced cost education and work like everyone else to make the grade. I don’t enjoy watching the NFL or the NBA. And I have a problem with public schools recruiting players who clearly can’t pass anything stronger than Basketball Fundamentals and Industrial Arts classes. Call it an extension of my love of high school football… the ivory tower fundamentals of “playing for my school colors”, but that’s what I enjoy about college football.

    When you flip that around, you have a student, sometimes a marginal student, who is parlaying playing out a dream to play on that field to get an education worth close to, if not substantially more than $100,000. If that education isn’t of any worth to them, then don’t sign. Just show up for the NFL combine next year, without the benefit of four years of development and coaching on someone else’s dime, and give it your best shot. I have ZERO sympathy for you because you were blessed with some talent and are now being “victimized” by the system. There are hundreds of thousands of kids across America who either can’t afford or can’t meet the academics requirements of that university who would love to be in your spot.

    Like

  14. Sparrow

    I pay no attention the NBA so maybe y’all can help me out. Is Emmert’s argument plausible? Are there US kids that play for a year in Europe and then jump to the league? And if there are, is their draft stock in anyway affected by that decision (positively or negatively)?

    Like

    • John

      It happens but its not particularly frequent. The majority of kids good enough to play out of HS just do the “one and done” thing. The lack of a paycheck aside, playing college basketball and taking some easy classes for a year appears to be at least as attractive as playing in the Turkish basketball league for a year.

      Like

      • Macallanlover

        Based on my trips to both Lexington, KY and Baton Rouge, LA, there are thousands of reasons to choose either of them over Turkey. But doesn’t make me feel anyone needs to give them a one year, all expense paid year on campus.

        Like

  15. WarD Eagle

    ““If someone wants to be a pro basketball player and doesn’t want to go to college, don’t go to college,” he said. “We don’t put a gun to your head. First and foremost, it’s about being a student at a university. We’re in the human development business.

    “If I wanted to hire someone to play football, why would I hire a 17-year-old (out of high school)?” Emmert asked. “Why wouldn’t I hire someone who just finished playing in the NFL or the CFL? If you want to hire a team, hire a team.””

    I have zero problems with this perspective.

    Like