|Krzyzewski has been consistent in his laments over realignment's effect on college basketball. (US Presswire)|
Aside from his obvious traits as a college hoops living legend and gold medal-winning basketball coach, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski seems intent on making realignment ripping part of his repertoire in these, the winter years of his time in the profession.
Krzyzewski has opined on the possibility of schools breaking off the NCAA before. He's also previously -- why, just about a month ago -- lamented Maryland's decision to bolt for the Big Ten and leave decades of ACC tradition in the dust, its desultory rivalry with Duke included.
K is at it again. On his SirusXM show he found the pulpit and went on a measured rant against those responsible for tearing down college tradition. His specific target was Maryland. This, with a hat tip to DC Sports Bog for alerting us, is what Krzyzewski said, and I'm being selective in culling K's quotes. Read below or listen to the 7 1/2 minutes of his pontificating right here.
K on realignment/Maryland
"A lot of these decisions are based on college presidents, chancellors and athletic directors who do not have a depth of understanding of the tradition of the institutions that they are leading. ... If you're running a business for a long time, you would be interested primarily in what is your brand. ... And when you give that up, what price is that? What does that do? The fact that there'll never be a Duke-Maryland game again. There may never be a Texas-Texas A&M game again, a Syracuse-Georgetown game again. Those schools aren't gonna schedule one another. I mean, that's not gonna happen. And in Maryland's case, that's the only conference they've known. And they're right in the middle of the ACC. And now their fans, they don't have a place. They're outsiders. They really are outsiders. What price? What price is paid for that?
"They didn't get public opinion from their alums, from the people there. 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. ... It's like throwing a rock into a pond. There's this big splash. They make a big splash, like we're gonna make all this money, and then there's all these ripples. And what are those ripples? Well, I don't care about the ripples. They're not even thinking about the ripples.
"This is an assault on tradition. 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. 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."
Some of that is fairy-tale thinking, unfortunately. But in spite of that, Kryzewski does have a point -- many of them, really, when you step back and hear what he's saying. You can harangue him for this, and I understand that, but go beyond cynicism, peel away the layers of detest you might have for Duke, and observe/realize there are a lot of people involved in college sports who hate how this basically has become a colloquialized real-life game of Risk.
If you're wondering, Duke and Maryland play each other twice more in the regular season before the Big Ten's coach car carries Maryland away. The first game is at Cameron 11 days from now, on Jan. 26; Duke heads to College Park on Feb. 16. In light of K's sentiments again here, I'm guessing things will be as angry and heated as we've seen in some time when Duke heads up to the Comcast Center. There's a hovering irony in that.
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