Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski supports California’s Fair Pay to Play Act

‘‘It is a sign of the times that we in college athletics must continually adapt, albeit in a sensible manner,” Krzyzewski said. “We need to stay current with what’s happening. I’m glad it was passed because it pushes the envelope, it pushes the issue.”

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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski answers a question during the Atlantic Coast Conference media day in Charlotte, N.C.

Nell Redmond/AP

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski supported California’s “Fair Pay to Play” law that will allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, and called on college sports to embrace change. 

“I don’t — and won’t — pretend to understand all the complexities of such a change,” Krzyzewski said in the statement Tuesday at the ACC’s basketball media day. “However, it is a sign of the times that we in college athletics must continually adapt, albeit in a sensible manner.

“We need to stay current with what’s happening,” Krzyzewski added. “I’m glad it was passed because it pushes the envelope, it pushes the issue.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed California’s new law last week, with the change set to take place by 2023. The law, in direct opposition to the NCAA’s longtime amateur model forbidding profit, will allow the state’s college athletes to hire agents and be paid for endorsements.

While the five-time national champion coach did not name the NCAA specifically in the statement, he made it clear that the organization’s current guidelines are no longer sufficient — urging for a nation-wide initiative to act in the best interest of student-athletes. 

“While we have made significant progress in recent years, we have not always responded to the needs and rights of our players swiftly, and frankly, we’re playing catch-up after years of stagnant rules,” Krzyzewski said. “I hope and trust that not only will there be a plan to put the student-athletes’ best interests at the forefront, but that we’ll also have a firm plan for implementation at the national level.”

Krzyzewski, who coached No. 1 NBA draft pick Zion Williamson last season, has in the past indicated his desire for players to be compensated for their likeness. In March, he said in part: ”We need a new model.” 

Read more at usatoday.com

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