Former president Barack Obama is an avid basketball fan. For years we witnessed his creation of the NCAA March Madness Tournament bracket where he tried to pick his eventual champion.
Now, creating the perfect bracket is a near-impossible endeavor, and Obama didn’t have any more luck than the rest of us. One thing Barack Obama is more qualified to speak about than most college basketball fans is the business behind the game.
In a recent interview conducted over the weekend, Obama spoke for an hour to an audience of hundreds of people at a major sports analytics conference at MIT. During the conference, Obama was asked about the landscape of college basketball, and whether or not collegiate athletes should be paid.
This has become a gigantic topic of conversation, especially since the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. Here’s what former President Obama had to say about college basketball, per Robby Soave of Reason.com.
“It’s just not a sustainable way of doing business. Then when everybody acts shock 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 expounded on his thoughts about creating an alternative league for people headed to the NBA. Obama said the league “won’t solve all the problems but what it will do is reduce the hypocrisy” that currently exists in the NCAA.
The G-League already exists as an alternative to the NBA, however, it requires athletes to have played at least one year in college, like the NBA. LaVar Ball has tossed around the idea of creating an intermediate between high school and the NBA, where players can receive money for their play, rather than going to college first.
It’s a hot topic that likely isn’t going away, given the FBI’s involvement in college basketball. Should collegiate athletes receive financial compensation other than scholarships?