WASHINGTON, D.C. — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called for the NCAA to take active steps to work with the NBA and federal legislators to formulate a new model for college basketball to address eligibility and compensation for players.
Asked about the eventual abolishment of the one-and-done rule, Krzyzewski took the discussion further, suggesting the NCAA has failed to be proactive in addressing obvious pitfalls that will come with the eventual rule change.
“The NBA will be well prepared,” Krzyzewski said. “The NCAA is not prepared right now. They need to be in concert with the NBA in developing a plan that is specific for men’s college basketball. And that should include what an athlete gets, how he’s been taken care of, whether or not there’s a re-entry if something — really, it’s deep. And if we only look at it shallow, then we’re doing a disservice to the kids.”
Krzyzewski has enjoyed the fruits of the current one-and-done model, including this year’s team, which features four star freshmen who might have otherwise been able to move immediately to the NBA, led by superstar Zion Williamson.
Cam Reddish, who missed Duke’s win over Virginia Tech on Friday, will be a game-time decision for the Blue Devils’ game against Michigan State on Sunday.
Williamson has been at the center of discussion about amateurism and potential compensation for college athletes. In February, Williamson’s Nike sneaker tore seconds into a game vs. North Carolina, and he missed the next month of action, with some critics noting that he was not paid by Nike, was not compensated fairly by Duke and would be wise to simply sit out the rest of the season.
Williamson eventually returned, but Krzyzewski said Saturday it’s clear his star freshman will be the face of inevitable change for college basketball.
“He got hurt, and then all of a sudden, everything that had to do with college basketball had Zion’s face on it,” Krzyzewski said.
For his part, Williamson has downplayed the issue, saying that he knew the system when he arrived and he’s not interested in fighting it.
“As my mom taught me, control the things I can control. I don’t focus on the things I can’t control. That’s the world, man. I can’t worry about,” WIlliamson said when addressing the issue after Duke’s first-round win over North Dakota State.
Federal legislators have different ideas, however.
Earlier this month, North Carolina congressman Mark Walker introduced legislation that would allow for college athletes to profit off their names and likenesses, and last week, Connecticut senator Chris Murphy cited Williamson’s situation in releasing a report deriding the current amateurism model and calling for compensation to players, suggesting it was an “issue of civil rights.”
Krzyzewski said he was happy to have federal lawmakers involved, but reiterated that finding a successful model would require all groups to work together with a clear vision — something he’s not seen thus far.
“I’d love for a group to talk to those gentlemen who are in federal government,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s not being done. So the right fielder’s saying something to left fielder. Like, let’s get into the clubhouse and do it as a team. The kids deserve it.
“And in this time the definition of amateurism — it’s outdated. We need a new model. And with all these things that are changing, it cries out for coordination of creating this new model. If we don’t do it, our game’s going to suffer.”