Duke’s Coach K apologizes for comments he made downplaying corruption in college basketball


INDIANAPOLIS — Duke University men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn't normally do media on game days, but he made an exception to attend a College Basketball Symposium organized by the Sports Capital Journalism Program at IUPUI on Tuesday. 

The event was held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, ahead of the Champions Classic where later Tuesday No.3 Duke defeated No. 2 Kentucky 118-84 and No.1  Kansas downed No. 10 Michigan State 92-87.  

The panel discussed the state of college basketball and the issues surrounding the game. 

During the discussion, Coach K elaborated on his comments about the corruption scandal engulfing college basketball. 

Krzyzewski had called the scandal a "blip" on the radar of the sport in late October. The comment seemingly downplayed the FBI probes and alleged millions of dollars changing hands among college basketball coaches, shoe companies and high-profile recruits. 

Krzyzewski said he should have been more clear when addressing the alleged corruption. 

"I should've given it more time and I apologized for that," he said. "I should've said, 'For me, I went to West Point. I was an army officer for five years. I call it a blip on the radar screen of college basketball and that doesn't mean that that blip is not a serious thing. We should look at it real close.' 

"For me, the college basketball scene has been pretty clean. I haven't encountered those things. … We haven't lost a kid because I feel someone cheated for him. That's my explanation on it. Again, I apologize for shortchanging the answer."

The longtime Blue Devils coach also spoke on the importance of adapting to the changing landscape of collegiate athletics. 

He questioned whether universities are doing enough to help players and their families, while commending the NCAA for improvements in that area. He added that paying players isn't likely to happen, but the NCAA can find other ways for players to earn money while in school. 

"We don't pay them, but there's cost of attendance, travel, insurance. There's so many things that they'll do for a player. I don't think it will ever be where you can pay (players), but it may be in the near future where likeness, the use of an individual's name and face, where there's something that could be worked out. … I think that's where we're headed."

Krzyzewski was joined on the panel by NCAA senior vice president Dan Gavitt, Time Magazine senior writer Sean Gregory, former vice president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment and IndyStar columnist Bill Benner and Associated Press sports reporter Mike Marot. Program director Malcolm Moran hosted. 

The members of the panel were linked by their admiration for late college basketball reporter Jim O'Connell. O'Connell covered 39 consecutive Final Fours and holds the unofficial record for Olympic Games covered by a reporter. O'Connell died in July at age 64. 

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