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Nick Richards featured in LeBron James’ documentary slamming NCAA

LeBron James’ mission to take down the NCAA is coming to television and includes a Kentucky Wildcat. Nick Richards will be featured in James’ upcoming documentary for HBO Sports slamming the NCAA for exploiting college athletes.

The film, entitled “Student Athlete,” debuts Tuesday, October 2 at 10 p.m. ET, and will showcase “the complex rules of amateur athletics in America and how they affect uncompensated athletes and their families.” It’s directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (HBO’s Oscar® winners “Saving Face” and “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”) and Trish Dalton (“Bordering on Treason”). James serves as executive producer.

From HBO’s press release:

Unpaid college athletes generate billions of dollars for their institutions every year. STUDENT ATHLETE unveils the exploitative world of high-revenue college sports through the stories of four young men at different stages of their athletic careers, as well as a coach-turned-advocate and a whistle-blowing shoe rep who exposes the money trail. The documentary spotlights: former NCAA and NFL coach John Shoop; New Jersey high school basketball phenom Nick Richards, now at the University of Kentucky; Mike Shaw, who played at the University of Illinois and Bradley University; Shamar Graves, a former wide receiver at Rutgers University; and Silas Nacita, a walk-on who played at Baylor University.

From high-school recruiting to post-graduation, the usefulness of athletes is tied to their ability to produce revenue. Once they can no longer do that, their participation in sport ends – often abruptly – with virtually nothing to show for their contributions. An audited financial disclosure from the NCAA in March 2018 revealed the association had close to $1.1 billion in revenue during 2017, a total that was unimaginable in 1964, when the NCAA coined the term “student athlete.”

“The NCAA blinded by revenue goals is turning student athletes into full-time employees,” said Steve Stoute, Founder & CEO of United Masters.  “This documentary is incredibly important as it debunks the myth that student athletes are being fairly compensated by receiving scholarships and a valuable education. In fact, the demands put on these students by this oppressive system makes it impossible for them to get the education they deserve. The time is now to end this false narrative and reveal the truth of this exploitation.”

Well, this will certainly get people talking.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

51 Comments for Nick Richards featured in LeBron James’ documentary slamming NCAA

    12:49 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    This is really odd, and disappointing. Why the hell would UK even allow a current player to be highlighted in this way? Is that not exploitation in & of itself…which is a large part of what this documentary is attempting to “slam”? It could also potentially be damaging to Nick, who we already know seems to have quite the fragile psyche. Why not showcase kids who’ve already been through the “system”, and came out the other side with nothing to show for…there are literally thousands of them out there with similar stories.

  2. Kat4Life
    12:53 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Hard to say which angle the story will take, but nothing good can come of it I agree with you.

  3. runningunnin.454
    12:54 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Don’t think Lebron was exploited in college; but, I do get tired of NCAA student-athlete ads on TV…if they attend fake classes, are they fake student-athletes?

    • 2thepoint
      1:04 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      Correct, 454, he went straight to the pros.

    • Luether
      7:14 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      Lebron didn’t spend a minute in college. This issue is political.

  4. Realme
    12:56 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Anything that exposes the hypocrisy of the NCAA, I am in favor of. I’m sure our coaches can handle keeping Nick focused, and I bet Cal might even be in favor of this.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      2:41 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      I find it difficult to believe that Richards was allowed to do this whole at UK without approval from calipari. Odds are that the footage they show is from high school.

  5. 2thepoint
    1:02 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    It seems obvious he will be taking a shot at the one-n-done rule, and what better place to start than KY with an individual like Nick. But, Lebron needs to strike at the NBA instead of the NCAA. I think Nick is a great example why young men need to go to school to grow, prepare for the NBA, and mature until they are ready to pursue life as an NBA player.

    I agree the NCAA is corrupt and needs to be overhauled, but the NBA can snuff out that rule prohibiting an athlete from going straight to the pros.

    • unbridled
      1:58 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly! Lebron James wasn’t impacted by the NCAA in the slightest. Not to mention that the “one and done” rule is imposed and enforced by the NBA players union. Get out of here Lebron. He’s such an insufferable human being.

    • BBNDan7
      6:46 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah, the most charitable athlete of all time is insufferable. What a terrible take

    • Luether
      7:16 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      This issue is political and Lebron is a Democ rat…

    • satcheluk
      5:23 am June 12, 2018 Permalink

      How is shedding light on an exploitative system political? Thou doth protest too much.

  6. babydangy
    1:05 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    This has nothing to do with one and done athletes. It has a former wide receiver in it. This wanted perspective from coaches, young recruit (Nick), and athletes that have been through the whole process. Good for Nick agreeing to do it. This was likely done before he even arrived at UK so it’s not like it interfered with his time here.

    • 2thepoint
      1:09 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      You are correct in that there are other subjects, but we will see if it talks about the one-n-done rule.

    • Soylentbeans
      4:39 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      If it’s about the ncaa why would it tall about a NBA rule?

  7. Booby Petrino
    1:10 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    I heard Nick Saban is coming out with a completely different film called “Student Athletes”

  8. UKinIN
    1:19 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    The NCAA continues to follow rules established when college athletics were not the generator of billions of dollars in revenue. They stick to their amateurism stance regardless of the truth about why some kids go to college. But the solution isn’t as simple as people make it out to be. Some say pay the players. Ok, how much? Men and women? Revenue and non-revenue generating athletes? Brian Bowen’s “family” was paid $100,000 just fro the kid’s signature. How much does it cost once the player enrolls? The NCAA cannot pay the kids enough to keep agents and apparel companies from being involved. If the NCAA announces that every student athlete will receive $10,000 in addition to what a full-ride scholarship provides it won’t make a difference. No matter how much the kids are paid someone outside the NCAA will always pay more.

  9. The last sith lord
    1:59 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    The ncaa is the Empire. Ncaa athletes are jedi and ppl like cal and lebron form the alliance…i m sure this will be better than star wars

  10. AmazzzingLarry
    2:02 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    To call a full scholarship athlete uncompensated is ridiculous. The value that a UK player receives total per year (tuition, room and board, food, training all-expense paid trip Bahamas) is worth easily more that $25K, which happens the standard G-League salary. Plus, they have the option to play overseas for a year if they so choose. You can argue that they are undercompensated due to the staggering amount of money that college sports generates, but to say that college basketball players are uncompensated (or comparing them to slaves) is total BS.

    • AdamN
      2:26 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      I was going to make the exact same comment, almost word for word. But I would also add that some schools (like UK) have a “scholarship for life” deal. That is worth A LOT of money! How much does a 4 year degree at UK cost, JUST tuition itself?! It is a bit scary how little value people put on an education these days.

  11. kjd
    2:16 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    The NCAA is what it is. It hasn’t changed.
    If the student-athlete thinks they are being exploited then don’t go to an NCAA institution. Simple. Find another institution to hone and promote your skills. Oh, that’s not so simple.

  12. dbake
    2:30 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Look I love basketball. Love UK. At the end of the day it is just BASKETBALL!!! To argue these kids don’t get compensated is rubbish. You know when I went to college, I left with several thousands in debt to get my education. What are these student athletes leaving with? A complete paid ride to one of the best colleges in America. They are still wanting more. Its like this take Lebron James’s God given athletic ability away from him, who is he now? Just a really tall average everyday guy. Now, with that being said, you want me to think they should get paid to GO TO COLLEGE. You have got to be kidding me. Because that is what that is asking for GETTING PAID TO GO TO COLLEGE!!!!!! Take your scholarship and consider that payment. I know I sure would have loved to have one.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      2:44 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      I don’t think that’s the story here. I think the story is that what they are getting paid pales in comparison to what the NCAA makes from them.

    • AdamN
      2:52 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      Blueblood, you are saying exactly what dbake is saying, just trying to make it sound nicer. Your argument is they should get paid to go to college for free. We are all acting like that is their only option!!! The rule just says you have to be one year removed from high school, it says nothing about having to go to college.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      3:19 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      I’m not sure I agree with that. You might be right, but I felt like the differentiation was that the athletes are worth MORE than the cost of their scholarships. Yes, they get to go to college for free, but what the NCAA makes off of them is worth WAY more than the scholarship. I do believe there is considerable value that is not being considered in the benefits they get as part of the college team per my other post below.
      What you are arguing – “Just be happy that you got more than me”- is ridiculous when you look at it from another perspective.
      Let’s say that there a genius kid who graduates college at 18 and goes to work for a big corporation. The big corporation says, ” I know you are ridiculously smart, but we still need to groom you a little for the workplace since you are so young, so we are only going to pay you 20% of your actual market value”. Does that seem fair? Because that’s the general argument about the NCAA’s position here.

    • AdamN
      3:36 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      First of all, I am amazed we are having a logical conversation on an internet comment section. That never happens. You make a very valid argument. I agree. But if you start paying college athletes, it opens a huge can of worms. How much do you pay them? How do you determine their worth? Is this going to make it where the “smaller” schools don’t have a chance because they just don’t have the money to keep up with the Kentucky’s, Kansas’, and Duke’s? I think the NCAA wants to maintain amateurism, so it doesn’t just become a G-League before you hit the G-League. I just can’t think of a fair and non exploitative alternative.

    • ukcamel
      3:43 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      Bluebloods, most colleges actually lose money on athletics – or put another way usually athletics isn’t self-funded. When people talk about the NCAA making billions of dollars, they are only looking at revenue. The other part is expenses, and those are really high.

      I’m all for players being allowed to go pro at any age, and I think the NCAA rule that prohibits players from earning money on their likeness is silly. But it’s a deal that they freely enter into. If so much money can be made off these young kids, let someone with capital start their own league. I think they’d find it much less profitable without the infrastructure and built-in fan-base the colleges provide.

    • Soylentbeans
      4:52 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      You’re right and wrong. Yes most college athletics lose money, but the money generated in billions to the ncaa is spread out thru all of college athletics to keep them going. So know you have a select few of superstar athletes that are getting there “$25000” a year in benifets that are taking care of thousands of others in all athletics. Plus if you think the ncaa a non profit by the way isn’t clearing hundreds of millions earned you are crazy.

    • Soylentbeans
      7:23 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      Basically you have superstar basketball and football programs paying for all other athletics. the ncaa funnels money made from those back through all schools and athletics.

      Then I said if you don’t think that the ncaa is still clearing hundreds of millions in profit you are crazy.

      I forget sometimes that the internet is full of english teachers. I apologize for my quick and sloppy writing in the comment section of ksr.

    • ukcamel
      5:34 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      The comment above has such bad grammar, spelling and sentence structure, it is impossible to understand.

  13. Wade
    2:39 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    It’s a gamble when u offer a kid a free scholarship and there are rewards that the school works for !everybody wants everything for just playing ball for a free edu. Kids deserve what they get and if you go pro then you will get what your worth if your smart enough and trained like from access to all the people in school that are assets to your future. Nutritionist, coaches, physicians, professors, etc.Don’t complain.

  14. Bluebloodtoo
    3:10 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Just for purposes of discussion, what does everyone think is the value to the “student athlete” of the following benefits of being on a college team:

    Advertising their skills via games on national television (won’t get this in G league)
    Coaching from best coaches (college coaches are wayyyy better than G league)
    Training from personal trainers (guessing that this is better in college too)
    Use of facilities (G league has this, but probably not same quality level)
    Medical staff and services (Maybe in G league?)
    Diet planning and monitoring (probably not in G league)
    Travel to and from games (Probably covered in G league, but not same comfort level)
    (None of these are part of the typical Scholarship values associated with this argument)

    Just FYI – I’m not trying to draw any conclusions. I’m just trying to look at this a fairly as possible.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      3:25 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      One easy argument to this: The NCAA is paying for all these things already and still making considerable money in “excess operating budget” (aka profit), which I’m sure they spent weeks on trying to make it look as small as possible.

  15. bwise
    3:14 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Richards needs to focus on basketball not this. He’s the worst example they could use lol, maybe feature Kevin Knox or shai.

  16. WildcatMarkC
    3:46 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    For those worried about Richards not focusing on basketball…. It seems many on here don’t realize how long it takes to put together a movie/doc like this. They had to of been working on this for a couple years meaning this is going to be from Richards high school days and not at UK. That’s probably why in the description it says “now at kentucky”, it implies at the time of the doc he was not so.

    That said, Cal and/or Sandy Bell has to of known Lebron James was making a movie with one of their recruits (at the time). Id say it’d be hard to keep that a secret.

  17. (Aixelsyd)0505
    3:46 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Maybe if the NCAA could set up some kind of financial reward for the student athlete that doesn’t have the skill to make it to the league, I know that’s probably never going to happen but what an easy fix for the NCAA! Set up a structural settlement for players who graduate from college…

  18. secrick
    4:03 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Who gives a shit what James thinks about the NCAA? Shut up and play ball. Leave the NCAA alone, it’s doing just fine and the kids are getting plenty .

    • BBNDan7
      6:48 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      If you think the NCAA is doing just fine then you’ve been under a rock for the last year. And he’s a human, who is allowed to have opinions not just “shut up and play ball”.

    • bwise
      12:02 am June 12, 2018 Permalink

      I agree with you. Especially since he never played college ball and was never “exploited” lol some people on here are crazy (pun intended)

    • BBNDan7
      6:13 am June 12, 2018 Permalink

      Lebron was exploited in high school

  19. howieg64
    4:08 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Correct me if I am wrong but isnt the basketball team getting a paid vacation to the Bahamas this summer? Who pays for the flights and fancy hotels all around the country all season? Do they not have private tudors while on the road? These kids get more than just a paid edumacation. They already get more than the normal students in many ways. They are not “exploited” in any sense of the word.

  20. crazycatfan65
    4:45 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    As I have heard several blacks say lately, LeBron James fans the flames of racism as much as David Duke and Maxine Waters. If the majority of basketball players where white, James wouldn’t say a single word about the NCAA paying players. Since when did a FREE COLLEGE education become worthless? Wonder how many regular college kids would love to have a scholarship and be debt free after graduation?

    • Booby Petrino
      5:45 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

      Several blacks, huh? Jeezus.

    • bwise
      12:02 am June 12, 2018 Permalink

      Yea you should worded that different lol

    • TonyMontana
      2:33 pm June 12, 2018 Permalink

      Lebron had the #N word spray painted on his garage for his whole family and kids to see. If you could walk a mile in his shoes you might see him as yurning for equality rather than fanning flames. (From 40yr old white male, TN)

  21. Headhurts
    5:51 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    Everybody wants pay players? Ok how much, is that enough? Do certain colleges pay more depending on location? Is that fair? Do all sports get paid? Men and women? Good luck and remember once u let genie out of the bottle. It’s out forever.

    • BBNDan7
      6:49 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink


  22. StevieGotLoose
    8:16 pm June 11, 2018 Permalink

    The one and done rule is not an NCAA rule, that is what the NBA players assoc created. Some of you are saying that the athletes are worth more than the free ride to school. Lets get one thing clear, this predominately a basketball conversation. What about the investment made by the schools on so called phenoms who suck, will they be allowed to make them pay for not living up to expectations. Are the schools supposed to pay or is the big horrible NCAA going to pay, since they are making billions. The athletes were not getting paid in high school, but once they get a free ride to college a huge financial burden arises. Maybe they were getting paid on the AAU circuit and that is why there is a sudden financial burden. AAU is the dirtiest thing going and needs to be shut down but sounds more like some would want colleges to do the same thing. It is all really mute so long as title 9 is in effect. You schools cant afford to pay every student athlete. If you start paying, Uncle Sam is going to want some taxes.

  23. satcheluk
    5:32 am June 12, 2018 Permalink

    Amateurism was developed hundreds of years ago in England to keep the rich and the poor separated in sports. Rich land owners didn’t work and played sports for clubs. Poor people obviously had to work to make ends meet. Some clubs started bringing ringers from the ranks of the poor folks, thus the idea of amateurism was born. The sports administrations wrote into their bylaws that if you had a job of any kind, not just getting paid for your particular sport, but even if you were a plumber or blacksmith etc, then you failed the amateurism test and forbidden to play with the wealthy “amateurs”. The whole system was designed to maintain class segregation in Victorian England and the system made its way across the pond to the Ivy League schools and spread from there.

  24. TonyMontana
    2:28 pm June 12, 2018 Permalink

    This has nothing at all to do with the NBA and If you don’t want to pay athletes than stop profiting off of their likeness. “They get an education”… is a weak argument.

    Furthermore whether or not Lebron went to college is irrelevant. Neil Degrasse Tyson has never been to space but makes plenty of documentaries about it.