The 2014-15 academic year was an important one in the history of college athletics. With there being multiple lawsuits regarding the use of the names, images and likenesses of student-athletes, not to mention questions as to whether or not scholarships are adequate enough, it’s clear that collegiate athletics are in for some changes in the future. Add in the changes that conference realignment brought about, particularly five years ago, and there’s a lot at stake for all involved in the coming years.
In relation to college basketball, for the most part the sport found itself on the sidelines when it came to realignment with football being the key in power conferences since it reels in the most revenue. Given the many changes that have impacted college basketball, it would undoubtedly help the sport to have stronger leadership moving forward.
In an interview with ESPN.com and Yahoo Sports, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski discussed a number of topics (he’s secretly on Twitter keeping track of his players, for one) expressed his desire to see college basketball select a leader in the near future.
Q: Do you feel like we’re on the precipice of monumental changes, then?
A: Yeah, yeah. I do think the year for the student-athlete was terrific, and it’s going to keep getting better. We’re moving there. The game itself is moving. (But) the structure that we’re in, the building – we don’t know what building we’re in. Like, how many stories is it? But that should be exciting. It is exciting, but I don’t know whether we can even talk about it, yet.
When things are like that, we need leadership. That doesn’t mean the leader knows where it’s going to end up, but we know it’s not going to end up where it is right now. It’s not a start-up company, but change is going, and what can be done? I always go back to when Jerry (Colangelo) took over USA Basketball. … He took over and it’s had a positive impact on everything in basketball – pro, college, international, youth. There should be somebody like him out there.
Krzyzewski also touched on the need to have a leader who isn’t “so much part of bureaucracy that you fall into the major traps of bureaucracy: “We’ve never done it that way before,” and “We can’t spend that money.”
When it comes to collegiate athletics football will call the shots given how much money conferences, especially the major conferences, reel in from television contracts for regular season games, bowls and the College Football Playoff. But that doesn’t have to mean that college basketball simply tags along for the ride, going wherever the almighty pigskin dictates.
Having a strong leader who represents the interests of college basketball could help matters. The next question is who would best fit into that role should college basketball ever get to that point.