LeBron James

Lebron James didn't mince words on his feelings about paying college athletes. “I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA,” he said.

Call me a LeBron James fanboy, and you’d be one thing.


It’s not only because the two of us share a name (and also a birthday. I know, weird.)

But in a world where some of the most popular celebrities are the ones who say the most outlandish things, James is a steady voice who uses his platform to make strong statements.

Tuesday night after a Cleveland Cavaliers win, James was asked about the recent scandals surrounding NCAA basketball. And he didn’t hold back.

“I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA,” James said. “It’s what’s been going on for many, many, many years. I don’t know how you can fix it.”

Clearly, LeBron is an advocate for paying college players. While that viewpoint has been maligned with the argument that college players are already technically receiving thousands of dollars by getting a free education, James brings up another fair point.

“I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education,” James said. “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 a national championship.”

After the FBI allegedly wiretapped a call from Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller where he discussed paying $100,000 to land top recruit DeAndre Ayton, according to an ESPN report, it’s pretty clear that this isn’t about education.

Over the past couple years, the University of North Carolina was under fire for allegedly creating phony African American studies classes for student athletes to take and easily keep their grades up. UNC was cleared of allegations, somehow, but it puts into perspective how education is not the reason these athletes attend college most of the time.

Now, with a multitude of big-name athletes under FBI investigation for accepting impermissible benefits, it goes to show the lack of control that the NCAA has over its schools.

How can you fix this any other way rather than paying the players?

They can’t hand down the death penalty on over a dozen top-tier programs. That would kill TV ratings.

They can’t record every coach’s phone calls with players and look over every recruiting process.

They can’t keep a kid from taking benefits, either. If their family needs them to start making money and they’re struggling to pay the bills each month, how can you tell the athlete not to look out for the people who helped them get to this point?

There’s only one option that could truly settle the dust — pay the players.

Either that, or we’re going to see more and more athletes turn away from a college career and head overseas or look at other available options.

“I’ve got a couple boys that could be headed in that direction,” James said. “So there’s going to be some decisions that we as a family have to make.”

Hey, ‘Bron. I heard the Big Baller Brand League will pay its players. I’m sure LaVar would love a word with you.

Follow Skyler Lebron on Twitter @SkylerLebron and contact him at [email protected].

Skyler Lebron is a sports writer for the Alligator and covers the University of Florida men's basketball team. Throughout five semesters with the Alligator, he has covered Cross Country, Volleyball, Softball and now covers Men's Basketball. Skyler is also