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Shabazz Napier rips the NCAA and the APR after winning the title

Apr 8, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

source: Getty Images

Getty Images

MOREWatch One Shining Moment | Way-Too-Early Top 25 | Shabazz Napier becoming a leader

ARLINGTON, Texas — Shabazz had the world’s eyes on him.

He had just led his UConn Huskies to a national title. It’s the program’s fourth in the last 15 years, their first since Kevin Ollie took over the program and just a year after they were banned from the postseason.

He was being interviewed by Jim Nantz, the world’s most famous announcer, on national television in front of all the UConn fans that had hung around to watch One Shining Moment.

And what did he do?

He … ripped the NCAA?:

If you’re not sure what Napier is referring to, the Huskies were banned from the postseason in 2013 as a result of the poor APR scores that they received during Jim Calhoun’s tenure. That dated back to 2008 and 2009, well before Napier and anyone else on the UConn roster had been a part of the program.

And clearly, that’s something that has bothered Napier for a long, long time.

“I just told myself if I was in that position, that was what I was going to say,” Napier told reporters afterwards. “People know how I feel about the postseason ban. I really don’t think that it was our fault. We had nothing to do with it. Our APR is up there. I think it was 1,000 actually. It wasn’t our fault. Everyone knows how I feel about it, and I just wanted to express how I felt. It created the Hungry Huskies.”

Those comments came on the same day that Napier gave these quotes to reporters:

“We as students athletes get utilized for what we do so well, and we’re definitely best to get a scholarship to our universities. But at the end of the day, that doesn’t cover everything. We do have hungry nights that we don’t have enough money to get food in. Sometimes money is needed. I don’t think you should stretch it out to hundreds of thousands of dollars for playing, because a lot of times guys don’t know how to handle themselves with money.

I feel like a student athlete. Sometimes, there’s hungry nights where I’m not able to eat, but I still gotta play up to my capabilities. I don’t see myself as so much of an employee, but when you see your jersey getting sold, it may not have your last name on it, but when you see your jersey getting sold, to some credit, you feel like you want something in return.”

“That’s the tough thing about it,” he said. “They call us student-athletes then they take us away from our school. At the end of the day, we understand what we get ourselves into. It’s part of the game now.”

  1. padraighansen - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Nothing he said is inaccurate. The NCAA is the very definition of hypocrisy.

  2. mrnoshoes - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Not enough food to eat? That’s just not true, all athletes have meal plans and team meals all the time. GG last night but really?

    • henryd3rd - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      Obviously from your comment you’ve never attended college? Anyone who has attended college can tell you that the food in those cafeterias leave much to be desired. Yes you can eat; but you don’t have many other options.

      • numbr4stuna - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        I can’t say it for every school, but my school had phenomenal food. Unfortunately, they were closed on Sundays so students had to pay out of pocket for food at a restaurant. I can see how this would affect student athletes who were on scholarship, without an income. If not for my parents floating me money, I would have probably had to sneak food out of the cafeteria on Saturday to have Sunday dinner…

  3. holleywood9 - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    “All athletes” no. I was a scholarship athlete at d1 and def didn’t get my meal plan paid for. I was lucky enough to have a family that could help out. Without being allowed to have a job I couldn’t do it alone.

  4. annapterp - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    He said he’s “starving”? That’s inaccurate. As mentioned above, meal plans and team meals. Try going to the dining hall for dinner so you don’t go to bed “starving” Give me a break!

  5. chargrz - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    What kind of name is Shabazz? Nuff said.

    • henryd3rd - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Haters always seem to have keyboard courage when they make some outlandish comment like yours.

    • muhangis - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:16 AM

      Idiot! Nuff said.

  6. tommyribs - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Shabazz’s criticism was right on. The NCAA is such a joke, its not even funny. UCONN was banned from Post Season play, for what was a non-item.

    Were there recruiting violations? No
    Were their kids going one and done? No
    Did a player or coach break a rule? No
    Did a player take money from a Booster? No

    So what happened? Well their average GPA dipped for one Semester, and then it went back up the next semester to actually the highest GPA average in the Big East.

    And for THAT they were banned from Post-Season play? And it was the first time it happened too!

    UCONN runs a clean program, and they did that to them. It was ridiculous. I am glad Shabazz called them out when he did.

    And his point was that they could not be held down for long.

    • annapterp - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      UCONN runs a clean program? Really? There have been recruiting violations that have been well documented. You could even argue that UCONN should not have been allowed in the tourney the year Kemba Walker crushed the tourney.

      I agree with the GPA BS but lets not get crazy and say UCONN and Calhoun ran a clean program. He jumped over the line a few times and was lucky to just get a slap on the wrist.

  7. reasonableperson1 - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but athletes are given enough stipend money and meal plans that they never would actually go hungry.

    Maybe it wasn’t the fine dining he wanted, but don’t sell us this b.s. that he went to bed hungry.

    And regarding the APR, that’s what happens when you attend a university that is dealing with those issues. I always feel for the athletes who suffer when they didn’t do anything, but what other deterrent does the NCAA have?

  8. chunkala - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Here’s hoping for a career-ending injury to Napier.

    • shawndc04 - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      Sick comment a-hole.

    • henryd3rd - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Another keyboard coward expressing his ignorance.

  9. rockyjcm - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Dining hall closes at 6. Starving by 9!!!

  10. durno99 - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!!!

  11. djshnooks - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Sure they get meal plans, but what about at 10pm when the dining hall is closed?

    They should have some money to be able to stock their cupboards and fridge. I am sure that is what he is referring to…if he is hungry at night and doesn’t have money or some ham and bread in the fridge…what is he supposed to do then? It’s common sense and he has a very good point.

    Good for him for standing up for his fellow “student-athletes” and what he believes in.

  12. philliephaninva - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    Dude say’s he goes to bed hungry but he can still afford all those tats? No sympathy here.

  13. ctsports14 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    There has been a lot of drama with the UConn men’s basketball program over the years. Kevin Ollie has done a tremendous job turning things around in a hurry. Napier’s remarks were arrogant and disrespectful. He is an outstanding player, but an immature individual.

  14. ncaa2014playoff - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    First he made an accurate statement.
    No hateful or crude tinge.
    No race card.
    For average people that go to college this is the story also. But for the athlete there are very long and physically demanding practice that prevent the ability to work for pay to live on. An athlete in a demanding sport like basketball requires 4000 and more calories a day, the food is not available to you when you are available to eat and it is not packaged to keep in your tiny room, bugs and rodents dudes.
    The point is like the students at USC, Miami, Penn State, etc they were punished for others people’s wrong doing.
    It’s not the kids fault his mother gave him a hater name, leave him alone.
    Yes he is a dumb kid with the tat thing, waste of precious resources of money, but it does not change the two points.
    Not enough support to live on and punishment for other peoples wrong doing (APR isn’t really wrong doing, we all had a bad semester once.)
    He did good and had to say it at the point in time when it did the most good.

  15. eojtrid - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    First of all young man that is not your jersey that is being sold it belongs to the university, if you have any doubts read the front of it. A very wise man said many years ago ” that the name on the front of the jersey is a helluva lot more important than the name on the back” Now that you have had your year in the spotlight sign your NBA contract and forget about all of your college teammates that helped you in your rise to glory who will be joining the workforce in couple of years when their eligibility is up

    • edbrowndesign - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:49 AM

      The NCAA raked over a BILLION DOLLARS in revenue for the 2014 tournament. And who do you think got that money, NOT THE STUDENT ATHLETES. Actually, his number makes it his jersey and if the person wearing it didn’t mater then there would be no need for names or numbers IDIOT! You reek of hate.

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