Amidst all the unrest currently facing the NCAA, a few enterprising reporters asked Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier about the possibility of compensation for college athletes.
The timing of the questions (not to mention the media platform that Connecticut players are currently sitting on as they prepare for the National Title game) isn’t out-of-context, as the NLRB ruled last month that Northwestern players could form college sports’ first union.
In short, Napier provided some extremely candid comments that are likely to make some NCAA powerbrokers shudder in their suits.
“We as students athletes get utilized for what we do so well, and we’re definitely best to get a scholarship to our universities. But at the end of the day, that doesn’t cover everything. We do have hungry nights that we don’t have enough money to get food in. Sometimes money is needed. I don’t think you should stretch it out to hundreds of thousands of dollars for playing, because a lot of times guys don’t know how to handle themselves with money.”
When pressed about his student-athlete vs. employee status, Napier expressed concerns about universities profiting off of his jersey sales.
“I feel like a student athlete. Sometimes, there’s hungry nights where I’m not able to eat, but I still gotta play up to my capabilities. I don’t see myself as so much of an employee, but when you see your jersey getting sold, it may not have your last name on it, but when you see your jersey getting sold, to some credit, you feel like you want something in return.”
And the hits just keep on coming.