LeBron James did not play college basketball, but surely saw its dark underside as he rose to international prominence at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

The Cavaliers star is not surprised by the current scandal prompted by the FBI’s investigation into college recruiting, saying Tuesday, “The NCAA is corrupt, we know that. Sorry, it’s going to make headlines, but it’s corrupt."

With sons LeBron Jr. and Bryce participating in the sport, James said he’s given serious thought to an NBA farm system, a plan that might further undermine the college game, and hopes to discuss his ideas with league commissioner Adam Silver.

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

“Obviously, I’ve never been a part of it, so … I don’t know all the rules and regulations about it. But I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football. I know how much these college coaches get paid. I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids. … I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education, 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 to a national championship. So it’s just a weird thing.”

James wouldn’t give an example of the craziest offer he got in recruiting, even when given the out of not naming names.

“Me?” he asked, laughing. “Listen, man. I can’t even talk about that. Me and my mom was poor, I’ll tell you that, and they expected me to step foot on a college campus and not to go to the NBA? We weren’t going to be poor for long, I tell you that.”

He said he wants to discuss his farm system idea with Silver and some other league officials in a “longer dialogue,” and outlined his reasoning.

“If kids feel like they don’t want to be a part of that NCAA program, then we have something here for them to be able to jump back on and not have to worry about going overseas all the time,” James said, a route taken by St. V-M teammates Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce III. He even brought up Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi.

“You look at pros overseas, some of those guys get signed at 14, but they get put into this farm system where they’re able to grow and be around other professionals for three or four years, then we’re they’re ready they hit the national team or when they’re ready they become a pro.
“We’re worried about kids coming into the league early but they’re not ready, then out of the league because of that. I don’t have the answer to it right now, but I’ve kind of been brainstorming a lot. If you look at Messi’s story, he was a professional for like five or six years before he actually became a professional.”