Review of ‘Schooled: The Price of College Sports’


Oct 13, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) rushes during the second quarter against the St. Louis Rams at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I received an advance media copy of “Schooled: The Price of College Sports,” a documentary of the argument/debate of whether the NCAA should pay college athletes and about the overall money issue in the NCAA.

The documentary was narrated by Sam Rockwell and was based off the book “The Cartel” by Taylor Branch.

The documentary, which is made by EPiX and premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m., was produced by Bobby Valentine (executive producer) and Andrew Muscato (producer).

My reason for watching the documentary for the Toro Times was how much current starting running back Arian Foster was featured.

The well-made documentary gave a very organized and detailed history of many aspects involving college sports and showed the views of all involved.

One of my favorite parts of the documentary was the history of the “student-athlete,” as they did it in a way that was entertaining with opposite views of the term “student-athlete,” which is a fun, must-see part of the documentary.

But I focused on what Foster had to say throughout the documentary, as he spoke about his time as a University of Tennessee football player.

In the 80-minute documentary, the first clip of Foster is him saying, “I had no options. The NCAA is the best farm club for the NFL.”

Foster had a lot to say throughout the documentary, even more from the clip that was shown last month that went national.

The current Texans running back also said of his time in Tennessee, “There were a lot of guys on my team that sold drugs … that’s why you hear guys selling their rings. (They are) just trying to eat … You don’t say anything because if you say anything you are stepping out of line … and that will hurt your chances of getting to the next level.

“It’s a brilliantly devised, evil scheme to keep kids quiet.”

I can say after watching this documentary, I see the college athletic system in a whole new light. The former players who spoke on the topic, including Foster, Jonathan Franklin, Jeff Locke, Ed O’Bannon and others, gave a good view of what a college athlete goes through.

Those in charge of the “student-athletes” … well, I didn’t enjoyed how they came off, as it came off as the players are “lucky to even be here.” That’s how I saw it.

There was one point in the documentary when college fight song music was played while talking about the purity of college sports, which I found ironic, because we all know college football and basketball is nothing more than a feeder system for the pro league.

Taylor Branch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, made a really good argument on the rights of college football players and at one time had a small confrontation with a gentleman as the man didn’t agree with Branch’s point of view. You’ll have to see that meeting to see how some of the folks in charge, or at least one, views the college football system.

Later in the documentary, Foster said, “My senior year I was getting money on the side. I really didn’t have any money. I had to either pay the rent or buy some food. I remember the feeling of like ‘man, be careful,’ but there’s nothing wrong with it.”

I’m glad this documentary was produced. There are varying opinions on the topic of college sports, and though I feel the argument went more in favor of the college athletes, each side had opportunities to argue for their side of the debate.

This is a documentary I could watch more than once, which, in my book, is a sign of a good documentary. I recommend fans of football or college sports to give this documentary a view, because it will be worthwhile.