Charles Barkley says college basketball is still GREAT because it helps black kids get a free college education -- and he dismisses the NCAA recruiting scandals as a few bad apples.
"The NCAA has some issues," Barkley told Adam Glyn in NYC ... "but what about all those kids who got to go to college for free?!"
"There's a few guys who are corrupt, I understand that. But, I always look at the big picture."
"I want all them young black kids getting their free education!"
The NCAA has been under fire recently after several high-profile players and programs were allegedly involved in schemes to pay players ... sometimes the payments reached 6 figures.
As for how Barkley would fix the system -- he says it's not as simple as just saying, "Pay the athletes."
"I don't know how to pay 'em. Who do you pay? Do you pay the basketball team? You pay the football team? You pay the girls teams? It's not that simple."
Barkley also weighs in on Shareef O'Neal -- and where he thinks LeBron James should end up.