While speaking to reporters at Cleveland Clinic Courts on Tuesday, Lebron James stirred up a bit of controversy when he revealed he believes the NCAA is “corrupt.”
“I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA. I don’t think there is,” James said when asked about the recent FBI investigations into impermissible benefits for players. “It’s what’s been going on for many, many, many, many years, I don’t know how you can fix it. I don’t see how you can fix it. I don’t know all the ins and outs about it. I don’t know all the rules and regulations about it, but I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football.”
James didn’t hold back when it came to offering his true feelings about the practices of collegiate athletics.
“The NCAA is corrupt, we know that. Sorry, it’s going to make headlines, but it’s corrupt,” he unabashedly said.
“I know how much these college coaches get paid. I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids. I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education, but you guys are not bringing me on campus to get an education, you guys are bringing me on it to help you get to a Final Four or to a national championship,” he added.
James is not the only high profile individual to speak out against the NCAA. Over the weekend, former President Barack Obama spoke in an off-the-record panel at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT.
His comments, which were leaked by Reason, revealed Obama believes a "'well-structured" G-League is a better option "so that the NCAA is not serving as a farm system for the NBA with a bunch of kids who are unpaid but are under enormous financial pressure."
"It's just not a sustainable way of doing business," Obama said of the NCAA. "Then when everybody acts shocked that some kid from extraordinarily poor circumstances who's got 5, 10, 15 million dollars waiting for him is going to be circled by everybody in a context in which people are making billions of dollars, it's not good."
James also proposed a "farm system" unique to the Cleveland Cavaliers that would replace the NCAA. He then said a "longer dialogue" about the subject is needed and he'd like to have a discussion with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.