Battier, Young Talk NCAA
Two current NBA and former ACC players reflect on their time spent as college athletes.
by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
While the NBA might have its own problems right now, the NCAA isn’t in great shape either. Financial compensation, injury settlements and scholarship length are just a few of the issues plaguing student athletes.
On Tuesday, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) hosted a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill about the state of the NCAA. The discussion, which was monitored by ESPN‘s Jeremy Schaap, included NBA players Shane Battier and Thaddeus Young.
The two players reflected on their time playing college basketball and the problems that plague the NCAA.
On his initials impressions as a freshman at Duke:
“When you first step on campus as a freshman you look around and see 25-foot high-definition scoreboards, luxury boxes and fancy concession stands, some even sell sushi now. As an 18-year old freshman, you start to realize we are in the midst of a big business now. This isn’t about throwing a ball through a hoop anymore. This isn’t about running for touchdowns. This is big business. That’s the first lesson you learn as an incoming freshman going to a major BCS school.”
On NCAA players’ view on financial compensation:
“Right now, guys are in the locker room saying we have created all of this. All of our hard work and all of our time effort, we have built this. There is some head-scratching and some questions being asked. Does our scholarship alone, which does not cover the cost of full attendance, is that enough to reciprocate what is being built?”
On workload at Duke:
“A typical day in season for a Duke basketball player would normally start at 6:30 in the morning. Usually you have some sort of lifting activity…then your class schedule starts. Practice time is usually 4:00 in the afternoon. That is a whole different discussion in itself because my class options were limited because of my time commitment to my sport.
“You were out of the gym at 7:30. You grab a quick bite, and at this time it’s been a long day already. Usually teams have a team-mandated study hall for a couple of hours, but we all know that college workloads obviously exceed that two-hour period. So you’ll have a study hall at 10:30 at night. While most of my friends were still playing Nintendo or sitting in the Quad eating pizza, I was finishing up the work I had to get done. Most nights I would be done with my work by 11:30 or midnight.”
On how to fix NCAA problems:
“The $2,000 increase in the cost of attendance is a great start. Is that a game-changer? No. It’s not a game-changer, but it’s a great start. What is a game-changer? A game-changer is guaranteeing four-year scholarships. That’s a game-changer. A game-changer is if you commit to out school and graduate, we will will pay for any graduate degree you would like to pursue.”
On seeing himself in an NCAA video game:
“It was a bizarre situation. As a kid growing up you dream about this so at first you’re like, ‘This is so cool.’ Then you realize, ‘Wow, I have no say in this at all.’ That’s your first lesson in business as a college athlete. As professional athlete, I’m thankful that I can take charge of my likeness. Not just to make money but to lend my likeness to foundations I support.”
On academics vs. athletics at Georgia Tech:
“At Georgia Tech, most of the time you are in the classrooms. You have 45-minute workouts between classes. You have study sessions. Georgia Tech is a tremendously hard and difficult school. They definitely put more time into academics than basketball. Teachers don’t care if you’re a student-athlete. They just care about student. I think that was the best thing about Georgia Tech.”
On difficulty of keeping up with classwork:
“It starts to become harder and much more difficult to keep up with the classwork. It’s more culture shock than anything. It’s not because of the basketball or the football or the practices or anything like that. It’s more of a culture shock because a lot of the student athletes don’t come from white-picket fences or stuff like that. They come from impoverished areas where all they see is their culture.”
On one-and-done reputation of Georgia Tech:
“I definitely didn’t look at it like I’m using Georgia Tech or Georgia Tech is using me. I was just happy-go-lucky kid going to college and very happy to receive a scholarship. Where I came from, nobody really went to college. I was just very enthused.”
On seeing himself in an NCAA video game:
“I think kids my age were more happy they were in the video game. I don’t think they were thinking about who’s making the money or stuff like that…I was like, ‘I’m on the video game. I’ve made it.’ I called my mom and dad up and was like, ‘Go buy the video game.’ I wasn’t really thinking where the revenue was going.”