‘National Champions’: A Sports Film Tackling Compensation For Student Athletes

Photo: ‘National Champions’

Despite being someone who isn’t a football fan, there are plenty of football-related films that I have enjoyed. From comedies such as ‘Leatherheads’ and ‘The Replacements’ to dramas such as ‘Remember The Titans’ and ‘We Are Marshall’, there are numerous films revolving in the orbit of football while remaining entertaining for someone like me. The new film directed by Ric Roman WaughNational Champions’ has almost no on-field action in it. It is actually about the absence of football.

Related article: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Dune’ Full Commentary, Reactions, Making Of – Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac

Related article: ‘No Time to Die’ Full Commentary, Behind the Scenes & Reactions, Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Bond

Related article: ‘Halloween Kills’ Full Commentary & Reactions, Behind the Scenes – Jamie Lee Curtis & More

When a quarterback calls for a player boycott three days before the lucrative national championship game, things turn to chaos for the NCAA. On December 10th, the collegiate sports drama had its theatrical release. The themes deal with a real debate that is taking place in the sports world right now. “Football fans, the film’s likely target audience, will be disappointed to find no actual football occurs in the movie. Still, with complex characters and fantastic performances, ‘National Champions’ offers a vital take on a developing issue,” reviewed Indie Wire. 

Name, Image, and Likeness Policy

At many universities, sports teams earn their respective schools millions of dollars every year. Most of the student-athletes are on scholarship, however, they do not profit off the money earned from their celebrity on and off-campus. 

The money from their stardom goes to the school while they are restricted from marketing their own image. Selling jerseys, posters with athletes’ images, and ticket sales in the past did not profit the athlete in any way; only the school. These amateur athletes also weren’t allowed to make endorsement deals or participate in commercials. These restrictions led to illegal bribery in order to recruit certain players. It has been an ongoing topic of discussion considering how much institutions make off of certain players. The first major change to this rule occurred when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of student-athletes. 

According to CNBC, “The Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA had violated antitrust rules and should pay student-athletes for education-related benefits, though it did not rule on broader compensation questions, and in the decision said legislation may be needed to address remaining issues.”

Related article: MUST WATCH – The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s Love Letter to Black Lives Matter – VIDEO

Subscribe to The Hollywood Insider’s YouTube Channel, by clicking here.

Following this decision, the NCAA’s board of directors officially suspended the rules prohibiting amateur athletes from selling the rights to their names, image, and likeness. As of July 1st, athletes could officially make money through traditional endorsements, personal appearances, and various other opportunities. “The new rules will allow athletes to profit by monetizing social media accounts, signing autographs, teaching camps or lessons, starting their own businesses, and participating in advertising campaigns, among many other potential ventures. Athletes will be allowed to sign with agents or other representatives to help them acquire endorsement deals,” according to ESPN

NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement, “This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image, and likeness opportunities. With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level.”

If this policy is successful, it would ultimately change the balance of power between athletes and their schools by allowing athletes to earn money off of their work. It also could potentially help build connections between communities and their colleges by having athletes promote locally owned businesses. Many of these athletes will not go professional, meaning that this is the peak of their athletic careers. “In 99.9 percent of cases, college is when the value of athletes’ brands happens to be the highest,” said Ayden Syal, co-creator of MOGL Corp., the first online marketplace to match college athletes with marketers to capitalize their new rights according to CNBC. This sets the stage for the newly released feature film and acts as an undercurrent throughout.

Related article: Why Queen Elizabeth II Is One Of The Greatest Monarchs | Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of United Queendom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (Video Insight)

Limited Time Offer – FREE Subscription to The Hollywood Insider

Click here to read more on The Hollywood Insider’s vision, values and mission statement here – Media has the responsibility to better our world – The Hollywood Insider fully focuses on substance and meaningful entertainment, against gossip and scandal, by combining entertainment, education, and philanthropy.

‘National Champions’

Based on the play written by Adam Mervis, ‘National Champions’ centers on the issue now addressed with the Name, Image, and Likeness policy. It begins with a countdown; only 72 hours before the most important football game of the year. Only the football players have something else in mind. 

Star quarterback LeMarcus James (Stephan James) announces that he won’t play in the national title game between the undefeated Wolves and the 13-1 Cougars unless the NCAA agrees to a list of demands about fair compensation. “He issues — initially through social media, then through carefully timed interviews — a call for his fellow Wolves and their opponents to boycott the championship game unless the NCAA agrees to start compensating players as university employees, not ‘amateur’ athletes,” reviewed Variety

He is joined by his friend and teammate Emmett Sunday (Alexander Ludwig) who knows, like many others, his career will end after this game. Only a small percentage of players will ever move on to the NFL while universities profit from their sacrifices and the players suffer from long-term health ramifications. According to CNN, “The movie proves most effective examining the inequity in a system that has long relied on athletes’ free labor, offering the promise of professional paydays down the road and scholarships in the interim.”

Related article: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase: “The Importance of Venice Film Festival as the Protector of Cinema”

Related article: The Masters of Cinema Archives: The Hollywood Insider Pays Tribute to ‘La Vie En Rose’, Exclusive Interview with Director Olivier Dahan

Related article: – Want GUARANTEED SUCCESS? Remove these ten words from your vocabulary| Transform your life INSTANTLY

The NCAA and its powerful connections spring into action in an attempt to save the most profitable event of the year. “This cabal of panicky donors and executives includes heavy hitters played by Tim Blake Nelson, Jeffrey Donovan, and David Koechner. Silently observing in the background is Katherine Poe (Uzo Aduba), a steely fixer and crisis manager who’ll stop at nothing to subdue dissension in the ranks,” said Indie Wire

James has also effectively thrown his coach (J.K. Simmons) into chaos, risking his first championship title as his marriage teeters on the edge. While he sympathizes with his quarterback’s cause, it’s not enough for him to join it. “A father figure with a short fuse and a penchant for profanity, it’s the type of role Simmons can play in his sleep, though even he can’t salvage an outlandishly unearned turn halfway through the film,” said the Washington Post of Simmon’s performance. 

The Rules Have Already Changed

The driving factor in the movie is tackling the issue that is already addressed with the new policy (Tackling? Get it? Like football?). While it may not be the most pressing social issue, it has been a topic of debate for a long time and is worth the attempt to fictionalize.

Related article: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase: “The Importance of Venice Film Festival as the Protector of Cinema”

Related article: ‘No Time to Die’ Royal Premiere & Reactions – Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux & More

The actors are all exceptional performers, and it’s not their lack of effort that makes the film feel flat. LeMarcus is a sympathetic protagonist which James plays with sincerity and quiet intensity. Simmons is wonderful, and as always, an incredibly versatile actor, and Uzo Aduba acts her heart out. I appreciated the fact that, as someone who couldn’t tell you a thing about football, it framed and debated the issue in a visual way. “The message is still worth contemplating, but lacking a better vehicle to convey it, feels more deserving of analysis on sports pages than the entertainment space. There’s obvious method behind the timing of the movie’s release, heading into college football’s bowl season and championship playoff in January” said CNN

It did however feel like there were meandering plot lots and an unnecessary amount of twists. If you’re someone who has been passionate about this topic, or maybe you were/ are a student-athlete and this is a personal story, then perhaps you would have a different perspective than I do. But to me, it felt a little too long and a little too dramatic for the reality of a rule change that has already taken place. 

Cast/ Crew

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Writer: Adam Mervis

Starring: J.K. Simmons, Stephan James, Kristin Chenoweth, Alexander Ludwig, Timothy Olyphant, Uzo Aduba, Tim Blake Nelson, Jeffrey Donovan, David Koechner, Lil Rel Howery

By Kylie Bolter

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.

An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “The Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard.

Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”

Ways to support Black Lives Matter Movement to end systemic racism

More Interesting Stories From The Hollywood Insider

Want GUARANTEED SUCCESS? Remove these ten words from your vocabulary| Transform your life INSTANTLY

Compilation: All James Bond 007 Opening Sequences From 1962 Sean Connery to Daniel Craig

Do you know the hidden messages in ‘Call Me By Your Name’? Find out behind the scenes facts in the full commentary and In-depth analysis of the cinematic masterpiece

A Tribute To The Academy Awards: All Best Actor/Actress Speeches From The Beginning Of Oscars 1929-2019 | From Rami Malek, Leonardo DiCaprio To Denzel Washington, Halle Berry & Beyond | From Olivia Colman, Meryl Streep To Bette Davis & Beyond

In the 32nd Year Of His Career, Keanu Reeves’ Face Continues To Reign After Launching Movies Earning Over $4.3 Billion In Total – “John Wick”, “Toy Story 4”, “Matrix”, And Many More

National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions, National champions

Author

  • Kylie is a writer obsessed with entertainment, most notably in film and television. Her background in screenwriting tends to make her focus on dialogue and development of characters. Although she enjoys watching new material with a critical eye, she is very easily entertained and quick to laugh.  The Hollywood Insider’s dedication to journalism without gossip is something that she values, along with their dedication to meaningful representation and substantial storytelling.  She enjoys finding the balance between relatability and artistry, no matter the format.

Recent Posts

Ai Dungeon: A Time Killer That’s as Fascinating as it is Amusing

Artificial intelligence may not yet be on the same level of human intelligence, but in…

1 day ago

‘Senior Year’ Gives 2022 the Early 2000s Treatment with Rebel Wilson

Available on Netflix, ‘Senior Year’ looks at high school today through the lens of yesterday.

1 day ago

A Quintessential Guide to the Adventures of Antoine Doinel and François Truffaut

Revisit the enduring delight of François Truffaut’s saga of cinema’s most flawed but lovable everyman…

2 days ago

Our Obsession With WWII & Crazy Dictators in Media | War Movies & TV

Why film & television continue to revisit “something that happened in the ‘40s” - war…

2 days ago

This website uses cookies.