ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams has called for players to boycott the upcoming Final Four as a protest to a lack of payment from the NCAA.
In a video posted to his Twitter account, Williams compared the college scholarship system to the NBA salary cap. “As gross revenue increases, guess what happens in the NBA? The salary cap rises,” he says. “But as gross revenue increases in college sports, particularly in college basketball, the scholarship stays absolutely the same.”
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) February 28, 2018
The NCAA recently approved cost of attendance scholarships that ups the value of each agreement by four or low-five figures — and also agreed to pay out $208.7 million to thousands of athletes that signed scholarship papers before COA scholarships were approved. The NCAA’s contract with CBS and Turner to televise the NCAA Tournament pays out nearly $20 billion over the life of the 22-year contract, which runs through 2032.
Williams, a former Duke point guard, is not the first to call for a Final Four boycott, but he is the most prominent such voice in these times where a Final Four boycott actually does not seem like a far-fetched fever dream. For what it’s worth, Williams reached the Final Four with Duke in 2001. He did not boycott, instead leading the Blue Devils to that season’s national championship.
Two years ago, a threatened boycott by the Missouri football team for a non-conference game against BYU was enough to bring the entire university to its knees, so one can only wonder what a boycott of the NCAA’s crown jewel event would do.
Reminder that Jay Williams, before he worked for ESPN, worked as a “recruiter” for a sports agency firm. Williams admitted on air that his firm gave $250,000 to Kevin Love’s AAU coach in hopes of representing Love when he went pro.
Jay Williams on working with a sports agency prior to getting into broadcasting. The firm funneled $250K to Kevin Love. pic.twitter.com/YGAyzXKHUT
— Reggie Williams (@regwilliams_set) September 27, 2017
Love did not ultimately go with the firm Williams worked for. Love said at the time, “If I was going with an agent why would I ever go with a guy who, no offense, but he crashed a motorcycle into a tree. I’m not going to go with a guy that’s reckless.”