LeBron James is the latest person to speak up about the FBI's crackdown on the NCAA. As one of the last players to come directly out of high school into the NBA, James can't draw upon his personal experience in college. But given his connection to so many of the league's young players, he's likely very in-tune to what those athletes have gone through.
LeBron spoke to reporters on Tuesday to express his displeasure with the NCAA:
“The NCAA is corrupt, we know that. Sorry, it’s going to make headlines, but it’s corrupt,”
“I don’t know if there is any fixing the NCAA. It’s been going on for many, many, many years,” he replied. “I don’t know how you can fix it. I don’t see how you can fix it. Obviously, I have never been a part of it ... but I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus.”
He also seemed to sympathize with the college students who have taken money. Even though they are theoretically paid with an education, some athletes aren’t in a position where they can afford to play for one year of education:
“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,”
Transcriptions via The Score
While the FBI investigation on the NCAA should be massive news, it just doesn’t feel like there is the outrage or reaction you’d expect from a story like this. There’s probably few people that were naive enough to believe there wasn’t corruption throughout the sport. But while it was apparent that there were NCAA violations happening in the shadows, I don’t know if there was the same understanding that federal laws.
The concept of a minor league for the NBA has always been interesting to me. It could even lead to expansion of the draft beyond two rounds.
It shouldn't be a surprise to see LeBron be a leader on the subject. Both as the head of the player's union, and as someone who hasn't shied away from speaking up when he sees corruption or injustice.