Barack Obama Says NBA Should Create Junior League, Discusses NCAA Structure

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2018

FILE - In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball second and third round games.  The NCAA and 11 major athletic conferences announced Friday, Feb. 3, 2017,  they have agreed to pay $208.7 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit filed by former college athletes who claimed the value of their scholarships was illegally capped. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Former President Barack Obama believes the NBA could help out the NCAA by creating a junior league that can serve as a farm system in professional basketball. 

He addressed the NCAA's structure at a sports-policy conference at MIT last week.     

"It's just not a sustainable way of doing business," Obama said, via Reason.com's Robby Soave. "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." 

Obama did note the creation of a new junior league for the NBA "won't solve all the problems" but will make it easier to stop acting as if all student-athletes are handling both roles in college. 

The NCAA has been under intense scrutiny dating back to September, when the FBI arrested 10 people in connection to a two-year probe into corruption and bribery in college basketball. 

Per Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde and Pete Thamel, documents and financial records from former NBA agent Andy Miller, his former associate Christian Dawkins and ASM Sports—Miller's agency—indicate at least 20 Division I programs and more than 25 players could be in violation of NCAA rules.

Forde and Thamel noted a balance sheet from ASM Sports included the subheading "Loan to Players," which "listed several who were in high school or college as receiving four-figure and five-figure payments."

The NBA did start its own development league in 2001, now known as the G League, and it has led to some notable success stories, including Hassan Whiteside and Jeremy Lin. 

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