Coach K is fired up about realignment again.
He first made his negative feelings toward schools jumping conferences public in November after Maryland announced its move to the Big Ten. At that time, he expressed concern for the future of the ACC, calling it “vulnerable” and predicting more movement.
Now on his Sirius XM radio show, Krzyzewski specifically criticized realignment for breaking the bonds of geographical rivalries and eliminating one of the unique competitive advantages of the sport.
“This is an assault on tradition,” said Krzyzewski. “What sets us apart from the pros? What sets us apart from the rest of the world? Intercollegiate sports is really something that only the United States has. No other country has that.
“And our thing is based on all the right values: loyalty, honesty, tradition,” he continued. “The branding that you have gotten from doing that has elevated the academic institutions that those athletic programs represent. And doing things the way we’re doing it now, based on money, I think it takes away from the academic missions and the innocence that an academic institution has.”
Krzyzewski went on to criticize the culture of decision-making and his concern for the lack of openness in the process.
“[Maryland] didn’t get public opinion from their alums, from the people there,” he said. “All these things are secret. It’s not out there. Some of it gets leaked, but in Maryland’s case it was never leaked. I’m really worried about that type of thinking.”
He makes some legitimate points, no doubt, but I do take issue with a technicality in part of his statement. The “academic missions and the innocence” of a school? I think that noble idea was lost a long time ago. Are college sports programs unique from the pros? Of course. But “innocent”? Let’s not go too far.