In light of Jeremy Tyler's decision to skip his senior year of high school in order to play basketball in Europe, I thought I would provide some perspective.
You see, I've taught at 5 major universities over the past 16 years, nearly all of whom have big time athletics programs. I have long been confused regarding why the NCAA is allowed to restrict the labor rights of college athletes and keep many Black families away from the multi-billion dollar revenue stream that they themselves enjoy. What is even more interesting is how they seem just so downright offended when young players decide to head out into the world to earn some of this money for their own families.
I am proud of Tyler, especially since he appears to want to get his education, in addition to earning a living from his talent. He will likely get a better education by being home schooled in Europe than he would get from the farce of an education he is likely to receive from a university that is using him for his basketball talent. I've seen this system up close for many years, and it is my greatest dream that Black men will wake up and realize who is actually getting the money from all of this.
Some people don't understand how the system works, so I thought I would explain it all in a poem. I call it "The Big Brown Baller." Read on ...
"The Big Brown Baller"
I turned the TV on ESPN
I saw the Big Brown Baller again
The one who can jump straight out of the gym
Who scores 50 points and hangs on the rim
The latest great athlete of the NCAA
The next billion dollar asset they won't have to pay
The guy that's encouraged to skip out on class
To run the 40 yard dash for university cash
The Big Brown Baller was on lots of billboards
Coke and Toyota and WalMart and Ford
I hear the "cha-ching" as the college gets paid
Just call him piano, cause the boy is getting played
I'm a finance professor, so I'll ask like a geek
How can you put "students" on TV every week,
as they graduate slow, your cash flow will grow
And you never give his family a cut of the dough?
The player can't show me any stuff that he's got
But the coach told me that he just bought a new yacht
Some jewels for his cat, diamonds for his wife's ear
All owed to the fresh negroes he recruited last year
The Big Brown Baller wasn't doing so hot
His mom got evicted, his brother got shot
The NCAA came and put on the clamps
When he tried to buy groceries with his mama's food stamps
Some say that the athletes should never get paid
Free school for 10 million? Is that a fair trade?
If I were an athlete, I would most likely say
"F-you, pay me" in a Goodfellas Way
One thing that I notice for the athletes in brown
I don't see many players in a cap or a gown
Schools make sure players show up for games on TV
But they don't make them show up to get a degree
Some say that the athletes are the reason for this
If you fall for that bull, then there's something you missed
Do you remember when you took Tyrone out of my class
So he could go across country and throw the big pass?
If education was key in your time with Tyrone
You would have said "Miss the game and go study at home"
But with "voluntary" practices, you already know
He better make practice or his scholarship goes
Excuse all my French, but that's the language I use
The phrase "student athlete" has been long abused
Their broke families give billions but take all the blame
When their children come home in a shadow of shame
The NCAA wears suits, but deep underneath
They're really just pimps with gold in their teeth
Making rules to fool fools talking nothing but jive
To keep their professional sports league alive
He hit the last shot, and after the game
The Brown Baller emerges, and it's more of the same
The coaches and corporates and little old men
Stand around him and chant "Boy you did it again!"
They rob money in buckets and pay them in drops
There's a jacking in progress, so please call the cops
Each time a school makes free millions from play
They are in gross violation of the American way.
Don't believe me, just try it, let the players sit out
Is a boycott in order? I don't have any doubt
Without the brown ballers, you already know
No endorsements, no fans, no tv, no dough