Lebron James addressed the current federal investigation into illegal recruiting within the NCAA. James spoke during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ shootaround before they took on the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday. “The NCAA is corrupt,” he said plainly. “I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA. I don’t think there is,” James added.
The NBA superstar offered a rebuttal to those who claim free education is sufficient compensation for student-athletes. James stated, “I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football. 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, so it’s just a weird thing.”
As an alternative to the NCAA, James thinks the NBA can do a better job of expanding their G League, formerly known as the D League. According to ESPN, the G League was founded in 2001, has 26 teams and each is individually affiliated with an NBA franchise. Players receive a minimum $75K salary with an option to earn more depending on the NBA team they’re affiliated with.
“We have to shore up our G League, continue to expand our G League…. 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.”
The debate over whether college basketball players should be compensated will continue but James, who went from high school to the NBA, summed it up best. “Me and my mom was poor, I’ll tell you that, and they expected me to step foot on a college campus and not to go to the NBA? We weren’t going to be poor for long, I’ll tell you that. That’s a fact.”