Krzyzewski: Change for good looming on NCAA landscape

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 10:30 PM

Winds of change are swirling around the NCAA as the organization looks to smooth out widespread issues with Division I athletics.

NCAA President Mark Emmert anticipates a new governance structure for the top level of college athletics.

Last week, as part of his fact-finding on the subject, he came to Durham and met Duke president Richard Brodhead plus Kevin White, the school’s athletic director, and Hall of Fame basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

On Wednesday, Krzyzewski said serious change is looming.

“I look at this as a very exciting time,” Krzyzewski said during a speech to the Durham Sports Club. “I’m hoping during these next five or six months some dramatic changes are going to happen and very positive changes for schools and student-athletes.”

At a meeting of more than 100 Division I faculty athletics representatives last month in Grapevine, Texas, Emmert said the NCAA board of directors is looking at the next 6-8 months to dramatically alter Division I athletics.

“I think the board anticipates a lot of change,” he said. “They’re going into their October and January meetings expecting to look at a whole different governance model for Division I. So it will be significantly different.”

Scandals involving impermissible benefits from agents or other outside influences have popped up around the country over the last decade, from Southern California and Oregon to North Carolina and Miami.

Houston Texas running back Arian Foster said last month that he accepted money while he was a senior at Tennessee.

While the general perception is that college athletics are broken because of these scandals, Krzyzewski takes a different approach. These scandals are akin to a team suffering a loss and returning to practice with renewed focus, he said.

“Everybody thinks its doom and gloom all the time,” Krzyzewski said. “But I think, as a leader, I think it’s a great time. It’s not like these things weren’t always happening. They’ve been happening for 30 years. Now everybody knows they are happening. So this, to me, is an amazing opportunity to right the ship. I think if you go into it with a negative attitude about what we’ve done wrong, well a lot of people have done a lot of wrong and not made any changes. We need to have a clear head and say that this is going to be right. And we have a good chance to get everybody on board.”

Krzyzewski also reiterated his long-time opinion that college basketball needs to have one person working at the NCAA who is in charge of that sport. He pointed out that the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament brings in at least 90 percent of the NCAA’s annual revenue.

NCAA football revenue goes to the conferences and is divided up among the schools.

“We have the most complex sport with one-and-done and all that money,” Krzyzewski said. “We need somebody really on top of that. I think that day is coming. Basically the NCAA has operated with less than what they can do. It would be like Duke University not having an athletics director.”

Already committed to coaching Duke as well as the U.S Men’s National Team for the 2014 World Cup in Spain and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Krzyzewski said he wouldn’t be a candidate for the job.

He suggested Jim Haney, the executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

As for the problems that are making negative headlines regarding big-time college sports, Krzyzewski compared the NCAA to the American auto industry.

“I don’t think what’s happening right now is any one person’s fault,” Krzyzewski said. “What I think is there are things that we haven’t kept up with over the last few decades — like coming up with a new level of amateurism and what we can do.

“It’s kind of like General Motors in the car industry. You gave a lot when it looked good but no one ever changed anything and all of the sudden, it’s not so good. This is an amazing time for the NCAA to make dramatic improvements for college sports. There will be some interesting things that could happen.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.