Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski believes that good will come out of the FBI’s investigation into corruption and bribery schemes involving college basketball recruiting.
He does not believe corruption is rampant in college basketball, he said at the ACC’s media day in Charlotte on Wednesday. But he does believe the attention on the case presents an opportunity.
“I think the game is in pretty good shape,” Krzyzewski said. “And just like anything, there’s a chance that something wrong is happening. I do think it’s a great opportunity for us to look at the game, the NCAA in particular, what they can do, the appropriate changes they can make, to make the game better.
“And maybe have it coordinated with what happens before we get a player to come to our schools if a player should have to come to our school, and to coordinate to what they do afterwards with the NBA to take a look at the entire process.”
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Krzyzewski, who believes athletes should be able to make their own decisions of whether they want to enter the NBA after high school, said a lot of change can happen with the game of basketball as a result of the investigation.
In September, the country’s top law enforcement agency announced it had arrested 10 people, including four college basketball assistant coaches, for their alleged roles in bribery and corruption schemes. At least six college basketball programs and possibly many more were said to be involved in two different schemes.
One scheme involved paying players in exchange for their commitment to certain adidas-sponsored universities. The other involved coaches receiving payments to steer players to agents. The investigation is ongoing.
“I think most guys were shocked that the FBI was involved in anything in college sports, but God bless them,” Krzyzewski said. “They have to do what they have to do. ... We don’t lose kids in recruiting because of someone cheating. Now sometimes guys say that. It’s like: ‘yeah, well he played on the Nike Circuit. He had to go to a Nike school.’ Most of that is superficial excuses.
“But does that mean everything is pure? No. Obviously not. But I think for the most part, it is.”
Krzyzewski said the involvement of shoe companies is “paramount to the success of college sports,” particularly basketball. He said the shoe company-funded circuits that Under Armour, adidas and Nike put on provide opportunities for thousands of aspiring basketball players to be seen by college coaches.
“I would hate that if we look at this and we just say ‘well the shoe companies are bad’ ” he said. “Well are the universities going to give up their school contracts that outfit the 20 to 30 sports that they have? Can something be wrong with certain parts of that? Yes. But let’s not eliminate the whole thing.”