Mike Krzyzewski: 'We don't have a good model' on changing landscape of sport

ByJeff Goodman ESPN logo
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski criticized college basketball's model on Tuesday, saying it needs significant changes.

Krzyzewski, 70, is in favor of players being able to go to the NBA out of high school and reiterated his desire for someone to run college basketball, but he also said Tuesday that several organizations -- including the NBA, the players' association, the shoe companies and those from college -- need to get together to make improvements in the game because there has been "no progress" recently.

"The landscape of college basketball for the player, from middle school to high school to college to the pros, keeps changing," Krzyzewski said. "We in college have not changed as much as the landscape has changed. We are not equipped right now to handle that. We don't have a good model, a model that fits what's happening in basketball, so college basketball's going to have problems. Before these kids ever come to us, we are not the only ones recruiting these youngsters. Talent is being recruited all the time in every shape and form."

"There's no progress, there's absolutely no progress," he added. "There is progress on what a player gets in college now, but that is only enforced upon the NCAA because of litigation."

Krzyzewski, who is the all-time winningest coach in men's Division I history, and other college basketball coaches continue to maintain that college basketball isn't broken, but that it needs wholesale changes in light of last week's FBI investigation in which 10 people, including four high-major college basketball assistant coaches and two people who work for Adidas -- were arrested. Louisville was also involved in the investigation, and Cardinals coach Rick Pitino is expected to be fired as a result.

"Last week was bad, doesn't mean all of college basketball is bad," Krzyzewski said. "It also doesn't mean that it's necessarily the tip of some iceberg. I don't necessarily agree with that. I think the iceberg is really good."

Krzyzewski said he doesn't have the solution but that there needs to be more dialogue to try to improve the system, and that the focus should be on the players and their families. He was in favor of shoe companies' involvement because of how they can help the kids and their families by providing opportunities.

"Nobody has the solution, but a bunch of people have the ideas," he added. "How do we figure that all out, and who figures it out? There is no who, there is a group called the who but they don't figure out this particular thing. ... We are not running this the way a billion-dollar industry should be run. We try and put a circle into a square, that's what men's college basketball is. It's not a bad circle, it's a great one, but it can't be done like a square."

Krzyzewski said that the recent college basketball scandal has affected other aspects besides coaching. Krzyzewski is a speaker for the Washington Speaker's Bureau, a lecture agency, but said he was informed in the past week that the company pulled him from a potential engagement.

"They didn't want anyone involved in college basketball," he said.

Krzyzewski even gave President Donald Trump some advice toward the end of his season-opening media conference when speaking about doing the right thing.

"The biggest thing you can pull on -- I wish our president would understand this -- is economic pressure," he said. "You don't have to destroy everybody. You can make them hurt with economic pressure, and we've got to be careful about those things. This is a great game."

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