Obama: NCAA should support all

Updated: March 18, 2014, 7:04 PM ET
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President Barack Obama is hopeful that college basketball players who don't get an opportunity to play in the NBA still get the most out of their college experience.

In an interview Tuesday at the White House with ESPN's Andy Katz, Obama said he's not against players leaving school early to pursue a professional career. However, he would like to make sure "average kids" who won't get the same chance, continue to be supported by their schools.

"I have to say that, I don't begrudge young people if they've got an opportunity to look after their family, to go ahead and get an NBA contract and then go back to school, hopefully, and get their degree if that's the right choice," Obama said. The president was being interviewed, in part, for his annual selection of the NCAA men's and women's tournament brackets.

"I'm more concerned with the young people who are not going to have the chance to go to the NBA, and are they getting treated well by these schools. ... Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins...they're going to be fine no matter what. They've got terrific parents, they've got a lot of support. I'm not concerned that they're going to make a bad choice. But for a lot of the average kids who are not going to able to get a good pro career, are those schools making sure that they're actually getting a good education, that they're actually getting a degree, that, if they get injured, their scholarships stick with them? Those are the kinds of things I'd like to see the NCAA address."

NBA rules state that players must be 19 years old before being eligible for the NBA draft. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski previously said players that are ready should go straight to the league. Krzyzewski also has said players should have to commit two years of college basketball rather than one before leaving.

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