It turns out Ben Simmons is like many students who claim they learned more from their gap year than they did while in college.
The Philadelphia 76ers star and Rookie of the Year favorite had some harsh words for the NCAA and his time at LSU, calling the athletics organization a “dirty business” and stressing he learned more about life during his aborted rookie season than when he was supposed to be learning in Baton Rouge.
Simmons sat down for an interview with Maverick Carter that was released by Uninterrupted on Thursday where he said, among other things, that he didn’t really learn a whole lot while he played at LSU.
““I think I would have learned a lot more by being around professional athletes,” Simmons told Carter. “Looking at it now, I don’t even know what I learned financially or just being a person at LSU. I think I’ve learned a lot more with this last year being in Philly and being a pro, than I did at LSU.”
Simmons said he was also annoyed by the demands LSU had on him as a student-athlete, especially when the school would profit off his likeness and work while not getting any financial benefit for himself.
“When they started asking more of me, like more photos shoots and meeting with them and things I had to do throughout the day. I’d have class and then I would go lift, have practice, then ‘Oh Ben, you have to stay and do media and the photo shoot. I would be kind of annoyed, like ‘What am I getting out of this?’”
“It’s a dirty business… You have to put up with it, but at the same time it taught me a lot. I have an image and people use it, but now I have the opportunity to control that, what I do and who I work with. It helped me, but at the same time I felt it was very sneaky.”
Simmons also discussed the NBA’s age restrictions and how basketball players have to play at least one year in college, speculating that it’s another part of the “dirty business” the NCAA controls.
“If we didn’t, a lot of people would be losing money, so I think that’s the main reason,” Simmons said. “If the NCAA didn’t have the stars coming through then people wouldn’t be watching.”
It’s an astute observation that’s almost certainly part of the agreement. Simmons has always made it clear that he thinks student-athletes are being taken advantage of by college athletics. The problem is, none of the voices that seem to hold this believe also have hands at the levers of power to do anything about it.