Ex-Duke star’s mom: NCAA rules like slavery

She says what we all fear to say

Former Duke star Wendell Carter’s mother likens NCAA’s rules to slavery during speech


Kylia Carter, mother of former Duke player Wendell Carter, makes an emotional address comparing the current system of NCAA basketball to slavery. (1:21)

5:51 PM ET

  • Heather DinichESPN Senior Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an emotional address on Monday at a meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, Kylia Carter, mother of former Duke basketball star Wendell Carter, compared the current system of NCAA basketball to slavery and a prison system.

“When you remove all the bling and the bells and the sneakers and all that,” she said, “you’ve paid for a child to come to your school to do what you wanted them to do for you, for free, and you made a lot of money when he did that, and you’ve got all these rules in place that say he cannot share in any of that. The only other time when labor does not get paid but yet someone else gets profits and the labor is black and the profit is white, is in slavery.

Editor’s Picks

“To be honest with you,” she said, “it’s nauseating.”

With her voice cracking at times, Carter humanized an otherwise agenda-filled morning that focused on reactions to the Rice Commission’s recent report and the troubles that have plagued college basketball for decades, forcing the push for real reform following a highly publicized FBI investigation this past fall.

Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, said the goal is to have the recommendations of the Rice Commission structured so they can be implemented by next basketball season, saying, “This is not the NCAA as usual,” and “work has already begun.” Carter’s message, though, was that the societal and race-related problems that plague many athletes and their families run deeper than anything that could possibly be changed by August.

Carter, who played basketball at and graduated from Ole Miss, paused to collect herself and her thoughts as she told a crowded conference room filled with mainly white high-ranking university and NCAA officials about her grandmother and mother working on cotton fields in Mississippi.

“This would be even harder to say in the crowd, but I can say it here,” she said in a hallway following the meeting. “It feels intentional. It feels like it was built this way intentionally. I can’t move that from my thoughts.

“Should the NCAA be removed? Yes, because I don’t trust it,” she said. “You’re not to be trusted because your intentions are clear. Let’s call this group in the middle, let’s call it something else. Let’s put some real reform in there and call it something different and get rid of the current status quo because it’s based on indentured servitude.”

Former Duke star Wendell Carter’s mother slammed the NCAA’s system of governance during an emotional speech at the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Carol Cartwright, president emeritus of Kent State and Bowling Green and a co-chair for the Knight Commission, said Carter “had a very strong point of view.”

“We appreciate that,” Cartwright said. “We provided a forum for her to express it. We have had similar personal and passionate point of views that have been expressed before.”

Carter, whose son Wendell declared for the draft on his 19th birthday and is expected to be a high pick in the NBA draft, said there isn’t enough support in place for most student-athletes to make the transition from college to the pros.

“You tell me it’s about education, and we’re giving you this fabulous education for your son to come to school here, so you’re paying him with the education for his talent,” she said. “If that’s what you’re paying him — you’re paying him with education — why aren’t you making sure he gets it? Why aren’t you assigning somebody to him so if he is a one-and-done, why didn’t you automatically assign him an academic advisor so that when he leaves he’s got someone in his ear talking to him about the value of that education he left behind? Wendell doesn’t have that problem because I’m going to be there like a jackhammer, but all of the other kids, the thing you pay them to come to your school and do, most of them don’t ever get it.”

Carter said paying the players won’t solve the problem.

“If you pay the players and kept the system like it is, it would still destroy them — it would just destroy them faster,” she said. “That’s not the solution. Don’t get me wrong, it helps, but not without educating them on this process.

“The part that baffles me … when you leave high school and prepare for college, and then going onto the pros, that whole process is not written down anywhere.”

Sizing up potential trade fits for Manny Machado


Tim Kurkjian looks at potential trade partners for Orioles short stop Manny Machado. (1:02)

1:07 PM ET

  • David SchoenfieldESPN Senior Writer

Nobody ever really believed in the Baltimore Orioles of Buck Showalter/Adam Jones/Manny Machado/Chris Davis. The Orioles never had a No. 1-caliber starter. Some years, they didn’t seem to have a No. 2 starter. Jones didn’t walk enough. Davis alternated good seasons with bad ones. The corner outfielders were a revolving door. The front office would never be lauded for its analytical genius.

Yet, over a five-year stretch from 2012 through 2016, the Orioles had the best record in the American League and fourth-best in the majors. They hit home runs. The bullpen usually was strong. The defense was reliable. Baltimore made the playoffs three times, more than the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The Orioles never reached a World Series, but it was a good run.

That run is over. After finishing 75-87 in 2017, the Orioles are a dreadful 8-26 after losing 2-1 to the Oakland A’s on Sunday. Only the Miami Marlins have scored fewer runs per game, even though Machado is off to a tremendous start. Showalter, Jones and Machado are pending free agents — and with every loss, it becomes more likely the Orioles trade Machado. Yes, they could keep him with the hope of re-signing him, but that seems doubtful given the money he’ll command in free agency.

What are some likely destinations for Machado? His ability to play shortstop, as he’s doing for the Orioles this season, opens up a number of trade targets.

Los Angeles Dodgers

As soon as Corey Seager went down with season-ending Tommy John surgery, immediate speculation pinned the Dodgers as a favorite to land Machado. I’m not so sure. First, they have a solid alternative at short in Chris Taylor, who came up through the minors as a shortstop before moving to center field last season and can handle the position defensively. They have other center-field options in Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo if they want to keep Taylor at shortstop. Maybe most important, all indications are they want to keep their payroll under the luxury-tax threshold of $197 million, and acquiring Machado would likely push them over that (or right up to the limit if the trade comes in late July).

That doesn’t mean the Dodgers won’t look to add offense if they have to. In fact, one consideration for adding a bat would be to move Cody Bellinger to center and acquire a first baseman who costs less than Machado’s $16 million and still keeps the payroll under the tax threshold. Kansas City’s Lucas Duda is a possibility, with a $3.5 million salary (although he’s off to a bad start at the plate), or maybe the Marlins’ Justin Bour, who is making $3.4 million.

New York Mets

It’s time to consider that Amed Rosario might not be that good — or at least might not be ready to contribute in 2018. Rosario really needs to overhaul a swing that has a weird hitch that often leaves him making contact with his back foot off the ground. He’s hitting .230/.267/.300 and has a career strikeout-to-walk ratio in the majors of 75 to 7. Look, he’s played only 75 games and he’s just 22, and maybe the best scenario is to just let him play and learn, but he’s not helping the Mets right now.

As the decline and pending departure of Matt Harvey proves, you also never know about pitching. The Mets have to try to cash in while they still have Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. They’ve followed up their feel-good, 11-1 start with a 6-14 run, and the offense now ranks 27th in the majors in wOBA.

Would you trade Rosario for Machado? Not if you think Rosario is going to be a star. But he has a lot to improve on to get there. The NL East looks like it might be wide open this year, and Machado would easily be worth three, or maybe even four, wins over Rosario over half a season. He also would provide a spark much like Yoenis Cespedes did in 2015.

Imagine the top of the Braves lineup with Manny Machado joining Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman. Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves

The surprise leaders in the NL East have been raking — they easily lead the NL in runs per game — but they have a hole at third base, where they’ve already started four different players. Jose Bautista is the new guy at the hot corner in one of the more interesting experiments in recent years. Even if he’s adequate at a position he last played semi-regularly in 2011 (when he started 25 games there), there’s no guarantee there’s anything left in the bat after an abysmal season with the Blue Jays in 2017.

The Braves also line up as the perfect trade partner because they’re loaded in the minors with pitching prospects, something the Orioles obviously need. Ownership would have to be willing to take on Machado’s contract; you never know with Liberty Media, but any team should be willing to take on $8 million or so for 80 games of a player of Machado’s caliber. If the Braves stay in this race, they could also make a move for pitching help — bullpen depth is a need — but runs are runs, and adding Machado behind Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman would create a scary top four.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are off to a solid 20-15 start, and the surprising part of that is it’s thanks more to the pitching than a lineup that was supposed to be one of the better ones in the league. Instead, the Brewers are averaging a paltry 3.77 runs per game, down from 4.52 in 2017. With Orlando Arcia hitting .222 without any power or on-base skills, Brewers shortstops have been the worst in the league, with an overall line of .167/.214/.235. Arcia is a superb defensive shortstop, but right now, this lineup needs a bat.

St. Louis Cardinals

They’re in first place even though Marcell Ozuna hasn’t hit, Dexter Fowler hasn’t hit, Kolten Wong hasn’t hit and Matt Carpenter hasn’t done much except draw walks. The Cardinals could play Machado at shortstop or third base (moving Paul DeJong to third), and once Ozuna and Fowler start hitting, the lineup should move up from sixth in the NL in runs to one of the best.

Chicago Cubs

This would be my sleeper entry. Addison Russell, like Arcia, is a premier defender, but he’s hitting .240 and is still looking for his first home run. The Cubs don’t need Machado, and Russell is under control for three more seasons after 2018, but a Russell/Machado trade might make sense for both teams. As with the Gleyber Torres-for-Aroldis Chapman deal in 2016, the Cubs give up future value for immediate improvement, while the Orioles get a shortstop to replace Machado. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have made this type of move before … oh, and they might want to sign Machado after the season, as well.

Dreamer’s World May 07, 2018 – Jumping Back Into Things

    After another far-too-short weekend, I am starting Monday at work with a lot on my mind. I am still hoping that my friend and his wife are coping with her cancer as well as they can. I am already knee-deep in work this morning, trying to get ahead of things before the usual tsunami of other tasks starts to arrive later on.
    Hal and I are going to see the new Avengers movie this week. Wednesday will be the day, thankfully we can walk to the theater if the weather is nice. It is one of the perks of living here in the new apartment. We will not have to cross any major highways to get to the theater, and it’s less than a mile from us.
    I took the plunge and signed up for one of the movie clubs, at least this will give us discounts on tickets and concessions when we go to the movies. This is something that we haven’t done in years because we always lived too far away from any theater. The Cinemark theater near us has reclining plush seats and this makes watching the movie less uncomfortable for both of us. Getting older is a bitch, we don’t go out as often anymore because we value our time here at home and also, our sleep.
    Having a theater within walking distance is just one of the benefits of the new apartment. There is plenty to do nearby, within walking distance, but there is not a lot of traffic to make it difficult to get to any of those places. As the weather improves, I am sure that I will get out and explore even more around this neighborhood.
    The day passed without major incident. I managed to stay awake through a conference call that ran 30 minutes past my normal quitting time because of people on the West Coast and their schedules. I was still able to get Hal to work on time.
    The evening while Hal was at work consisted of me working on a song with my guitar as a part of my practice routine. I like to be able to play a song by learning it chord by chord. Tonight I began working on “Island In The Sun” by Weezer. It is not that difficult of a song to learn, so I am trying it out. This has turned into an excellent day.