Golden State Warriors center Draymond Green (23) reacts after scoring a layup and drawing the foul on Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu (8) during the first quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on May 16, 2019 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to S.F. Examiner)

Draymond Green: NCAA is a dictatorship

Green, Warriors respond to California’s Fair Pay to Play Act

CHASE CENTER — Draymond Green is passionate about college sports and more importantly, the players who are, in his eyes, taken advantage of by the NCAA.

That’s why on Monday, during the Golden State Warriors’ media day, when asked about the recent passage of California’s Fair Pay to Play Act, Green had some strong words.

“Someone needs to force this dictatorship to change because that’s exactly what it is,” Green said of college sports’ governing body. “It’s no different than any country that’s ran by dictators. The NCAA is a dictatorship.”

The Fair Pay to Play Act — signed into law on Monday by California governor Gavin Newsome — will go into effect in 2023, allowing college athletes in California to receive financial compensation for the use of their likeness, compensation in direct conflict with the NCAA’s staunch adherence to student-athlete amateurism, yet seeming laissez-faire attitude towards coaches earning millions of dollars.

“As a former college athlete, that’s exciting,” Green said. “You spend so much time in college broke, with no money, and yet everybody else was living very well.”

Green reached the NCAA Tournament in each of his four years with Michigan State, but while his likeness and those of his teammates were used to promote the team, the university and the Tournament — the NCAA’s biggest money-maker.

“The university is making a ton of money off your likeness. I mean, it is the most — like I think [Newsome] used the word — bankrupt model,” Green said. “And it is. It’s like it does not make any sense. I can make all the money off your likeness, and the moment you decide to make some money off your likeness, you can’t play here anymore. You’re ineligible. You’re suspended. It’s backwards.”

Green’s teammates, many of whom played collegiate basketball for Power Five conferences — shared this point of view, including Michigan products Glen Robinson III and Jordan Poole.

“I think that it’s time,” Robinson said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys, even in my case where I went to school, a lot of players couldn’t afford lunch and had to eat the food at the cafeteria, which isn’t the best. So I think we’ll start to see a lot of changes.”

Poole, who went viral after sinking a leg-flailing buzzer-beater to take out Houston in 2018, also believes that the law is set to make a lasting change in the college athletics landscape.

“I know for sure I would have been using my name after that Houston shot,” he said. “So I feel like that would have been something I would have been able to do. But I feel like it’s a huge step in the right direction.”

With the passing of this bill, the eligibility of universities in California may now be in question. According to USA Today, the NCAA has already threatened to ban California schools from competition.

Green’s response to these whispers: “The whole thing is stupid. Maybe that’s what they need to do.”

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