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.