In light of recent reports of alleged recruiting violations and illegal payments at some of the biggest basketball universities in the nation, LeBron James spoke candidly about how players coming out of high school should have more options.
“I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA. I don’t think there is,” James said Tuesday. “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.”
An FBI probe discovered an alleged pay-for-play scandal in college basketball in which coaches would funnel money to players through shoe companies and then steer those same young men to agents and investment advisers.
“I’m not a fan of the NCAA,” James said. “I love watching March Madness. I think that’s incredible. I’m not a fan of how the kids don’t benefit from none of this, so it’s kind of a fine line and I’ve got a couple boys that could be headed in that direction so there’s going to be some decisions that we as a family have to make, but I know as the NBA we have to figure out a way that we can shore up our farm league and if kids feel like they don’t want to be a part of that NCAA program, then we have something here for them to be able to jump back on and not have to worry about going overseas all the time, I guess.
LeBron James calls NCAA corrupt in reaction to scandals.
“We have to figure that out, but kids getting paid is nothing new under the sun. You all seen ‘Blue Chips?’ It’s a real movie, seriously,” James said. “The NCAA is corrupt, we know that. Sorry, it’s going to make headlines, but it’s corrupt.”
LeBron was playing professional basketball while his peers were freshman in college due to him taking advantage of the NBA rules of the time. So, he was able to skip college out of high school and headed straight to the NBA, something only a very small number of players can do successfully. Like LaVar Ball, LeBron also believes one viable option is to create a minor league system and expand the NBA’s G-League, giving players the option to get an education or play professionally right out of high school.
“I know for us as an NBA, we have to shore up our G-League, continue to expand our G-League and basically what it is, it’s like our farm league in baseball,” James said. “I just looked at it like the farm league like in baseball or you look at pros overseas. Some of those guys get signed at 14, but they get put into this farm system where they’re able to grow and be around other professionals for three or four years. Then when they’re ready they hit the national team or when they’re ready they become a pro. So I think us, we have to kind of really figure that out, how we can do that.”