Coach K: College basketball's current model isn't working
Posted October 3
Durham, N.C. — Mike Krzyzewski's media day remarks Tuesday included a bit of normal – he discussed Grayson Allen regaining his captaincy, Javin DeLaurier's excellent preseason and a few other notes of interest as Duke makes final preparations for the regular season.
But the majority of Krzyzewski's 30-minute press conference was spent dissecting the latest college sports scandal, one involving money and federal charges for 10 people.
Krzyzewski was candid, saying the current model for college basketball isn't working.
"The landscape of basketball for a player, from middle school, high school, college, pros, keeps changing. We in college have not changed as much as the landscape has changed," Krzyzewski said. "We don't have a good model. We don't have a model that fits what is happening in basketball."
According to federal prosecutors who filed charges last week, what is happening amounts to bribery – hundreds of thousands of dollars being used to steer prized recruits to certain schools, and eventually, shoe sponsors and agents.
Federal prosecutors said at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn't name the schools but contained enough details to identify them as Louisville and Miami.
The link to Louisville will likely cost Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino his job. A body of officials that oversees Louisville's sports programs decided unanimously Monday night to fire Pitino. Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave last week after law enforcement officials announced the probe and the school acknowledged its inclusion in the investigation.
Krzyzewski wouldn't comment specifically on Pitino during his remarks Tuesday, but he did say plenty about the need to fix a system that he said isn't working.
Krzyzewski said the drastic changes to AAU basketball culture during the summer has transitioned into a full-time business, setting kids up to fail when they arrive on a college campus and agree to comply with NCAA regulations.
"When we recruit, especially in the last four to five years, the grassroots culture of basketball before we get them has changed dramatically. And it's not all bad. It's a little more business," he said. "Now, when we get them into college, it's a change. When there is that change, then there can be problems – misinterpretations of what is good, what is legal."
Krzyzewski said one way to help the issues is to once again allow talented high school players to jump straight to the NBA.
"If a kid could go out of high school, he'd go from business to business," he said. "Let them go. God bless them. They'll get an extra year in the NBA, and the NBA is responsible for developing them."
Another thing preventing wholesale fixes to college basketball, Krzyzewski said, is that it isn't run like the money-making industry that is has become.
"Who figures it out? There is no who. That's one of the problems in our culture. We are not running this the way a $1 billion industry should be run. We try to put a circle into a square, that's what college basketball is," he said. "I would like for us to be more responsible, be fairer to the kids who play the game. The only reason we have jobs is because of them, because of the player."