It seems Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers may know a whole lot more than the rest of us when it comes to players being secretly paid under the table while playing in college.
If you haven’t seen the sports headlines as of late, multiple college basketball players and coaches have been named in a report by the FBI showing that these coaches, players, and their families have been accepting payments to join certain programs and sign with certain sports agents, the most recent of these allegations centered around Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller offering top prospect DeAndre Ayton $100,000 to play in Arizona. These reports have already had major implications, as Shaquille O’Neal’s son, Shareef, decommitted from Arizona after the news broke.
Established NBA players were even named in the report, including the likes Kyle Lowry and Brendan Haywood — the latter of which is already retired, showing just how far this stretches. Even rookies from the most recent draft class have been named in the report for accepting payments, including Markelle Fultz, Dennis Smith Jr., and Josh Jackson.
Thankfully for Laker fans, Ball was not mentioned by name in the report but still gave an interesting and heartfelt response after being asked about players being paid to play in college.
“Everybody knows everybody’s getting paid. Might as well make it legal,” Lonzo Ball says on the subject of college athletes getting paid.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 23, 2018
What was that Lonzo? Everyone’s getting paid? Maybe this payment scandal stretches further than we first imagined.
Ball, who played for UCLA last season in college, made sure that he didn’t implicate himself in the scandal with his full response however.
Lonzo Ball, should NCAA players be paid? “I do. All the money they generate for the programs & stuff, it’s kind of an unfair system…Everybody knows everybody’s getting paid & that’s how it is. Everybody’s getting paid anyway. You might as well make it legal. That’s how I feel.”
Ball’s not wrong either. The NCAA makes millions of dollars a year off of the names and performances of college athletes, who aren’t allowed to earn a dime off of their sporting exploits while in college, their scholarships being considered payment enough.
Many former college athletes have come out and lamented the way the NCAA is operated, most notably 2016 number one pick Ben Simmons, who made a full documentary on the issue.
With the way Lonzo structured his answer, it won’t be surprising to see more names involved in this scandal in the coming days and weeks, and hopefully — however unlikely — will lead to some sort of change where college athletes can at least partially see some of the money they’re generating.