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Former president Barack Obama shared NBA superstar LeBron James’ perspective on how to improve the NCAA, which James called “corrupt” on Tuesday in wake of multiple reports implicating major NCAA players, coaches and programs in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into illegal recruiting.
Obama spoke in an an off-the-record panel at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT over the weekend, and his comments were ultimately leaked by Reason
. The former president said the NBA would be smart to embrace a “‘well-structured” G-League “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.” The former president felt that type of system “won’t solve all the problems but what it will do is reduce the hypocrisy.”
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James proposed a similar idea at a shootaround Tuesday, telling reporters that every NBA team should have a “farm system” and that it could be a substitute for the NCAA. He said that’s for a “longer dialogue” he’d like to have with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
“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.”
An explosive report from Yahoo! Sports last week revealed details of a federal investigation that implicates numerous programs and players tied to former NBA agent Andy Miller. An ESPN story over the weekend reported Arizona coach Sean Miller was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to freshman DeAndre Ayton.