Outgoing WFAN sports radio host Mike Francesa told CNBC on Tuesday the “genie is so far out of the bottle” when it comes to money and college sports.
Francesa was reacting to the announcement that the FBI arrested 10 people, including four NCAA basketball coaches and an Adidas manager, in a bribery investigation.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, described the alleged wrongdoing as “coaches at some of the nation’s top programs taking cash bribes, managers and advisers circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes, and employees of a global sportswear company funneling cash to families of high school recruits.”
College sports are all about “more cash, more cash,” Francesa said on “Fast Money Halftime Report.” “I’m the biggest phony in the world. I still love the games. But the system is so far out of control.”
“It’s a cradle-to-grave thing. It’s a system completely run amok. The sneaker companies are a big part of it. The NBA money, which is enormous now, is a big part of it,” Francesa said. “They try to take the kid at 12, if he’s LeBron James, and control him right to the minute.”
Earlier on CNBC, sports marketing legend Sonny Vaccaro, who at Nike signed Michael Jordan, said he’s “totally shocked” by the NCAA bribery allegations. He said college basketball is a multibillion-dollar industry that thrives at the expense of its athletes.
Francesa was in awe of Vaccaro, saying, “Having Sonny Vaccaro on this subject is like having Thomas Jefferson on when America was put together.”