Warriors' Draymond Green Calls NCAA 'Dictatorship'; Supports Player Compensation

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2019

Michigan State forward Draymond Green cuts the net after his team's 68-64 win over Ohio State in an NCAA college basketball game in the final of the Big Ten men's tournament in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

There are a select few people in existence who have a more direct understanding of how the NCAA works for high-profile athletes at high-profile schools than Draymond Green, which makes his opinions regarding the Fair Pay to Play Act all the more notable.

Green played for the Michigan State Spartans from 2008 through 2012 and was a consensus All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year and Final Four participant. Since his college days, he has become a three-time NBA champion and Defensive Player of the Year on the Golden State Warriors.

The Michigan State product pointed to his experience in an opinion piece he wrote for the Washington Post about college athletics and his support for the Fair Pay to Play Act that will allow college athletes in California to more easily profit off their name and likeness.

"I describe the NCAA as a dictatorship," Green wrote. "If you're an NCAA athlete, it controls everything you do. And if you don't follow its archaic rules, it will prohibit you from playing."

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on LeBron James' UNINTERRUPTED platform, and Green thanked them both for their involvement while stressing the fact that such a law will not destroy college athletics:

"People argue that changing these rules will destroy college athletics. Those are just scare tactics from people who want to keep players from being able to make money that's rightfully theirs. This bill does not say the NCAA needs to pay athletes. It simply allows college athletes to endorse products or sell jerseys. It won't slow the money that pours into the NCAA; in fact, it might keep players in college longer."

Green clarified he sees his time at Michigan State as some of the best years of his life that helped make him the man he is today, thanks largely to the leadership of head coach Tom Izzo.

However, he also said, "my passion for my university also fuels my desire to take on the unjust NCAA rules restricting college athletes from profiting off their likeness. I've seen firsthand just how backward these rules are."

He recalled the time his Spartans reached the Final Four but he was only given three tickets for the event. With such a small ticket allotment, his grandmother couldn't attend shortly after his grandfather died, and he didn't have the money to help her. He also couldn't have sold a jersey or used his likeness to profit without risking a suspension.

While family member and NFL linebacker LaMarr Woodley gave his grandmother an extra ticket, Green himself described how he felt helpless in the situation.

"This is just my own experience," he noted. "I saw players deal with much worse, such as difficulty getting something to eat or families at home not making ends meet. With our practice schedule, classes and other commitments, there was no time to get a job. Many players were left struggling."

The Fair Pay to Play Act that Green supports could go into effect in 2023 if there are no holdups in court.

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