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Spencer Haywood argues NCAA system has ‘a tinge of slavery’

A lot of people have been outspoken about college basketball over the last few months, but Spencer Haywood couldn’t help but nod to Stan Van Gundy’s rant on a “racist” approach to the amateur system by the NCAA, forcing players to remain uncompensated despite bringing in billions in revenue every year across multiple sports.

“When he said it, I was like, ‘Well, old Stan Van Gundy!’” Haywood told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. “I watched all of these other commentators get nervous about it and say, ‘Well, I don’t think so…’ But let’s think about it. If you have 11 blacks on your team and you are say, in Kentucky, and they’re creating all this wealth but not getting paid? It does have a tinge of slavery.”

“It is what it is. It is very racist because they’re not helping the communities where those kids come from, Chicago and Detroit and so on.”

Out of all the voices that have given an opinion on the matter, Haywood’s resonates profoundly, as the Hall of Famer sued the NBA alongside then-Seattle SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman, which went all the way to a U.S. Supreme Court before the league agreed to a settlement.

Haywood was direct and spared no feelings with his approach, noting just how much money the NCAA is reeling in with the televising of the NCAA Tournament games along with the regular season for each of the conferences, some of which even have their very own dedicated channels.

“They just got a contract from CBS (and TNT), $8.8 billion, and if you are making that, I think you have to share some revenue,” Haywood said. “You can’t expect people to continue to work for nothing on a false hope of, well this is about education, we are getting you an education, we will feed you. It sounds a little like 400 years ago, like slavery. Stay in your hut. Stay in that little house. We’ll give you some food. You do all of the work. All of it. And I am telling you that I will take care of you.

But to the 68-year-old, the root of this entire issue resides in the forgotten history that remains archaic and strange to those who intend discuss how this system came about.

Haywood pointed out that the original founder of the NCAA, Walter Byers, had attempted to blow up the organization in the ’80s and ’90s, having realized that the goal of amateurism was just a farce, with the players ending up getting the worst end of the stick.

The Hall of Famer noted that the fact that the organization could’t point to any changes to fix it should have been a reason for concern ever since.

“Before he died,” Haywood said, “Walter Byers was saying that it was wrong, the NCAA was wrong. The system he set up was wrong, and what he did was a very bad thing.”

He paused before continuing… “Now why won’t they do right?”