If you’ve heard of The EPIX documentary “Schooled: The Price of College Sports,” it’s because you know it as the film where Houston Texans star running back Arian Foster admits that he got paid his senior year playing college football at Tennessee.
What Arian Foster said prompted former Michigan State running back Jehuu Caulcrick to say on Twitter that he was paid under the table as well, and that’s it no big deal. Caulcrick played very sparingly for four NFL teams, but is out of the league now. He quickly gave us the cliche “MY TWITTER WAS HACKED” platitude/excuse for what he said, and then issued a series of tweets retracting it, and apologizing.
But there’s a lot more to “Schooled” than just Arian Foster and the discussion he’s stimulated.
Schooled is a comprehensive look at the business, history and culture of big-time college football and basketball in America. It is an adaptation of “The Cartel” by Pulitzer Prize Winning civil rights scholar Taylor Branch, and his October 2011 article in The Atlantic, “The Shame of College Sports.” Schooled presents a hard-hitting examination of the NCAA’s treatment of its athletes and amateurism in collegiate athletics; weaving interviews, archival and verité footage to tell a story of how college sports became a billion dollar industry built on the backs of athletes who are deprived of numerous rights.
A colleague gave me a screener copy of the 77-minute documentary which I’ve watched three times already.
The roster for Schooled includes current and former college athletes, coaches, academic advisors, NCAA compliance officers, historians, sports journalists and university administrators, such as: Houston Texans’ running back Arian Foster, Emmy-winning Sportscaster Bob Costas, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, Joe Nocera of The New York Times, Dave Zirin of The Nation, Sports Illustrated’s Frank Deford, George Dohrmann, BJ Schecter and Michael Rosenberg.
The Arian Foster revelation is really important, but there’s some other highlights in the film that warrant special attention.I personally have “scandal fatigue” now when it comes to hearing news about big time revenue producing college sports breaking the rules.
I yawned and didn’t care when I heard about the Sports Illustrated expose of Oklahoma State football. Pay for play? Meh.
Thinly veiled prostitution in the hostess program? Yawn.
Academic fraud? Don’t care.
OSU is an example of a larger phenomena- we’ve heard and seen it all in college football and college basketball scandal. We’re not shocked anymore. We’re numb. Sandusky and Paterno are a big reason for why that is so. After hearing about the crimes perpetrated in State College, everything else pales in comparison.
Critics of the system governing college sports like to use the word “plantation” or the phrase “plantation system” to tear it down, but indentured servitude is more accurate. They say “plantation” because it’s an emotionally charged word that evokes the deplorable and morally repugnant practice of slavery, but Arian Foster gives an interview in the documentary where he says indentured servitude is the perfect, exact analogy.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and FacebookPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks