Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski supports California's Fair Pay to Play Act: 'I'm really happy this is happening'

Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is in favor of California's Fair Pay to Play Act. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is in favor of California's Fair Pay to Play Act. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said on Tuesday that he supports California’s Fair Pay to Play Act, which will allow student-athletes in California to make money from their name, image and likeness.

CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander spoke to Krzyzewski, who was characteristically honest and forthright — not just about his own opinion, but about the NCAA’s failure to act sooner on the issue of name, image, and likeness (NIL).

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“I’m really happy this is happening” is a bold statement from one of the most famous and respected coaches in any college sport.

Krzyzewski also released a formal statement, via Norlander.

“The Fair Pay to Play Act that was recently signed into law in California will likely lead to far-reaching change. We’ve already seen similar bills introduced in several states. I don’t — and won’t — pretend to understand all the complexities of such a change. However, it is a sign of the times that we in college athletics must continually adapt, albeit in a sensible manner. While we have made significant progress in recent years, we have not always responded to the needs and rights of our players swiftly, and frankly, we’re playing catch-up after years of stagnant rules. I hope and trust that not only will there be a plan to put the student-athletes’ best interests at the forefront, but that we’ll also have a firm plan for implementation at the national level. College athletics provides an amazing option for hundreds of thousands of talented men and women who choose to attend institutions across the country. We must adapt to ensure that it stays that way.”

Krzyzewski’s comments recognize that the NCAA is to blame for states passing laws about student-athlete compensation. He admits that if the NCAA had been more forward thinking and acted on this issue sooner, states wouldn’t have had to pass laws that essentially force the NCAA to change its rules. He’s not unhappy that the California bill has changed things, and wants the NCAA to hop on board and make the changes itself.

Compare that to the comments of Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few, who recently discussed California’s Fair Pay to Play Act with Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. Few blames California governor Gavin Newsom. For what? For recognizing that the NCAA has a problem and trying to fix it for the people in his state — also known as doing his job.

“What I find totally disappointing and disgusting is that a governor is wasting his time grandstanding around in something that he doesn't really understand when .00001 percent of his constituents are going to be impacted by this.

"He should probably stay in his lane — like I tell my players — and figure out homelessness and I think he's got a state that borders Mexico and get that mess figured out, and the budget and some things like that ..."

Few went on to say that he’s in favor of student-athletes making money off of their name, image, and likeness, but continued to say that “grandstanding politicians” shouldn’t get involved. Of course, as Krzyzewski pointed out, politicians and states wouldn’t have had to get involved if the NCAA had done literally anything on this issue.

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