As he stood up from his pre-Final Four press conference, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski leaned into the microphone and gave a derisive snort. “Good luck with the next one,” he said, referring to the next press conference – with NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Krzyzewski’s mic drop moment, coming as he prepped for his final weekend as a head coach, laid bare the discontent and the disconnect between Emmert, the national office and the people they allegedly govern. ‘We’re all frustrated,’ ‘one prominent athletic director told The Athletic after Emmert’s press conference ended.
The frustration comes from a host of issues – a broken enforcement process, an out-of-date rulebook and an avoidance of dealing with NIL issues until Congress and the Supreme Court essentially forced the NCAA’s hand. Emmert addressed the issues, citing a “huge disjuncture in college sports, with a relatively short window of time,” but it was Krzyzewski’s comments that drew the most attention, as the coach plainly took shots at the NCAA president.
Asked if he wanted to stick around to listen to Emmert, Krzyzewski said, “I’m sitting on the edge of my chair.” He then went on to address his own itemized list of concerns. “I have many questions, and the very first one is, ‘Where are we going?’ ”Krzyzewski said, when asked what he might pose to Emmert.“ And who is in charge? And what are we doing to take care of all the divisions under your roof – men, women, all sports, those that make money and those that just make men and women out of men. ”
There is actually a group tackling those issues, the NCAA Transformation Committee has been charged by the Board of Directors to consider the very broad topic of what a new NCAA might look like. Given an Aug. 1 deadline, committee chairs Greg Sankey, the SEC Commissioner and Julie Cromer, the Ohio University athletic director, said the 21-person committee has already given a great deal of consideration to the infractions process, enforcement, modernization rules and is “rounding the corner about investment to support student athletes, ” Cromer said. Though they did not provide specifics, they intimated that the changes could be substantial.
Among the considerations – eliminating NCAA enforcement that punishes athletes not involved in the violations; a consideration of allowing some rule-making to exist at the conference, and even school level, instead of just nationally; and reconsidering antiquated rules. “We’re very good at making rules; we’re not very good at deleting them,” Sankey said. None of those options are finalized but the committee, Cromer said, is considering things that have never been talked about, much less considered in the history of the NCAA.
She and Sankey cautioned that not everything will be rectified by their August deadline but that they recognize the critical need for change. ‘I don’t think (Krzyzewski) is the only one disenchanted,’ ‘Cromer said.
04.30 Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images