The bribery scandal unfolding this week involving the NCAA, Adidas AG undefined and coaches at four major sports universities is lost on no one who follows sports—least of all a professional athlete who has seen the sports machine up close.
"I think the NCAA is a big sham in general, because they're exploiting kids and the schools are making billions and billions of dollars on the backs of these kids," New York Giants player Justin Pugh told TheStreet on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at an event for Conair, for which he is a spokesman.
Pugh was responding to a question about the FBI investigation into alleged bribery involving Adidas-sponsored universities and high school basketball students and senior executives at Adidas, announced on Monday, Sept. 25. In the potentially wide-ranging case, spelled out in an FBI criminal complaint, the head of global sports marketing for Adidas allegedly bribed high school basketball players for their commitment to Adidas-sponsored universities. Adidas executive James "Jim" Gatto, has been charged with four counts of fraud and money laundering that involved NCAA coaches at Oklahoma State University, Auburn University, the University of Arizona and the University of Southern California.
"Obviously, there's money being doled out to players to come to certain schools," added Pugh.
"Everyone wants to say, 'oh, you're getting a free education,' " he said. "I would love to see how much money the schools make. Pay the players and let them pay for their own education off that."
"I hate that schools use kids to make ridiculous amounts of money off them, and the kids see nothing from it. I've seen so many kids come from such bad backgrounds, living in cars before they get to school. They don't even have toothbrushes or other basic necessities, and these kids don't make a cent."
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