Student Athlete Review

Student Athlete is produced by Mav Carter and Steve Stoute & executive produced by LeBron James.

F*ck the NCAA nigga, let a young nigga get paid – Jay-Z, They Don’t Love You No More


After Fmr. NBA Commissioner David Stern made the decision to not allow high school players to go straight from high school to the league the players had to go either to the NCAA or overseas.

While Brandon Jennings showed it could be done most chose the comfort of America in the NCAA leading to a near monopoly on talent.

While producer LeBron James himself didn’t have to play in college before being drafted in the NBA the rule now is players can’t go from high school to college leading to the ‘one and done’ rule where students go to universities and after a year submit their names into the draft.


This documentary takes a look at the NCAA and the results of that system.

This special is all about stories and it gives a face to the name ‘student-athlete’.

Everyone knows the odds of making it professionally are against you but the fact that an athlete, and that’s what they are athletes first, either can’t earn money or has to walk a tightrope to avoid violating a NCAA rule is ridiculous.


In the documentary there’s the CNN headline from Bleacher Report read ‘Once-Homeless football player forced from team’.

This is about Silas Nacita a walk on with. Baylor University who made the most of his opportunity playing in all 13 games and winning a Big 12 championship.

His family didn’t have a college fund and because he was a walk on the school didn’t offer aid. His friend’s grandparents stepped and set him up with an apartment and provided food “and because he accept ted that for free, Nacita apparently violated an NCAA rule” leading to Baylor kicking him off the team.

I was fighting tooth and nail for players. I think the players that I’ve recruited and loved should have due process.

I think the players that I’ve recruited and I love should have food to eat. And the players should get the best medical treatment that they can possibly get. – John Shoop, a former NFL & college coach

If you listen to the Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA they make it seem like the schools are all for the athletes and providing skills to be successful on the field and off but when the rubber meets the road it’s all about the money.

They don’t care about these players at all.

If the NCAA paid their athletes the same portion of revenues as the NBA pays its players, Nick Richards [5 star recruit] would make $1.4M his first year at Kentucky – Based on the methodology in Sports Economics by David Berri

The system is broken if UCLA can make a deal with Under Armour for over a quarter of a billion dollars but former UCLA players like Ed O’Bannon have to fight for the right to their likeness.

Nick Saban is getting $74 million from Alabama while former NCAA wideout Shamar Graves is homeless.

According to NCAA rules players can’t make money from their “likeness and reputation” so Graves and O’Bannon never got money when the video game used their name and likeness in the college sports video games.


It makes no sense for Mike Shaw to be at the mercy of universities while he’s making the most of his opportunity.

The fact that you have to sit out a year because you’ve decided to transfer from a D-1 school to another Division 1 school is infuriating.

No one would think it’s fair or even reasonable for LeBron to sit out his 16th season because he changed teams this summer or instead of Kevin Durant leading the Warriors to his first championship he had to sit on the sidelines because he left OKC for Golden State.

The standards they set for these kids in school or not only dumb their unreasonable.


The idea of paying Black football and basketball players for a sport, at a White university I think disturbs a lot of people that’s the unsaid issues when we talk about playing athletes. – Natalie Graces, social worker for athletes


When you see people like Lenny Cooke who in 2002 went undrafted after going from high school he is a casualty of bad advice and adults trying to hitch their wagon to a rising star.

Similarly in football Maurice Clarett is now seen as a cautionary tale after he challenged the NCAA system and the rule of having to be 3 years removed from high school before being able to earn money from your profession in the NFL.

Even though initially a federal judge ruled in his and Mike Williams favor that the NFL couldn’t bar them from entering the draft the decision got overturned.

And “because they both signed agents before being denied the opportunity to join the NFL Draft, the NCAA refused to reinstate the college eligibility of Clarett or Williams”.

Everything that you do gets criticized. If you have a bad game people start talking about you. I feel failure every day so I don’t want that feeling to ever happen, so that’s basically why I come in the gym every day and work. – Nick Richards, 5 star recruit at The Patrick School


But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Reform is happening.

The NBA G-League is looking to grow with more energy being put into recruiting top prospects.

LaVar Ball’s dream of Junior Basketball Association is a reality with the JBA completing its inaugural season and expanding to JBA USA team where they’re playing international talent.

The NCAA in response to a FBI investigation announced some reforms to take place which I believe will help the players.

It use to be that if you declared for the draft you’d lose college eligibility meaning even if you go undrafted your college career would be over.

Now players can be able to enter to NBA combine and if they aren’t selected or signed to a NBA team they can return which is huge.

Also according to Sports Illustrated “College players can be represented by an agent after any season if they have requested an “evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee,” but must end the relationship if they return to school.”

This also gives the player power to control their destiny even more and fully pursue other options beyond the NCAA system.


Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner has stated he’s looking into possibly allowing high schoolers the opportunity to be eligible for the draft without requiring a year removed and if that happens the landscape changes.

The G-League could become a farm system similar to baseball where teams would be able to groom and shape players while they’d be able to provide for themselves and their families.

The NCAA would have to take a serious look at the lie that is ‘student-athlete’ and find ways to properly compensate these players who risk injury while biding their time.


Let’s hope change truly comes because right now these players are getting screwed.

And they truly need to be properly compensated for there talents and by that I mean receiving percentages of those billion dollar March Madness and hundred million dollar apparel deals.

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