The FBI's recent NCAA corruption bust primarily focused on Adidas in the recruiting scandal, but it’s impacting the entire industry. In a recent interview with The Athletic, Nike co-founder Phil Knight was asked about the subject.
Knight placed the brunt of the blame on the NCAA for allowing the situation to mature into the full-fledged problem it became.
"The FBI was basically doing their job for them," he said. "They let it get away from them, so it became more widespread through the decades, I think."
Pressed for a solution, Knight said he doesn't think paying large sums of money to NCAA players is a viable option, citing a lack of schools with profitable athletic departments. "I think you have to get people to play by the rules," he offered.
Knight says he and Nike have been playing by those rules all along. "I don’t believe that we’ve ever paid any player to go to a college or do any of those things. I hope we’re ethical, but even more than that, it’s suicidal for us," he explained. "We’ve got all of the major teams. If you start doing that, we’re going to piss everybody off. So no, I don’t think it’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle. All they’d have to do is say here are the rules and enforce them."
Knight, who has close ties to the University of Oregon, will hose the PK80 Invitational this weekend, an in-season NCAA basketball tournament honoring his upcoming 80th birthday.