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Coach K isn't ignorant. He's just tired of nobody listening.

<p>Mike Krzyzewski had few words on recent allegations of top programs giving highly-touted recruits inappropriate benefits to attend their program.</p>

Mike Krzyzewski had few words on recent allegations of top programs giving highly-touted recruits inappropriate benefits to attend their program.

The FBI's college hoops corruption trial has made for plenty of bombshell headlines the last two weeks. When names like Rick Pitino, Bill Self, Deandre Ayton and Dennis Smith Jr. mix with companies such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour and piles of cash as large as $150,000, would we expect any less?

But the case has had plenty of flash and very little substance. No real evidence has emerged to suggest that any of these coaches knew about the shady deals happening in parking lots or on the sidelines of AAU tournaments.

Yet after Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski's first press conference of the season Monday at Duke's media day, there was plenty of outrage. 

Yahoo's Dan Wetzel wrote in a Tuesday morning column, "The great Mike Krzyzewski, who is way too smart for this, who is way too strong for this, is just going with the status quo and claiming that a federal trial and under-oath testimony and FBI wiretaps are just nothing, nothing at all." 

Jeff Goodman, a basketball analyst for Stadium, tweeted, "I am not buying this. At all."

Why all the anger directed at the winningest coach in Division I history, one who has been regarded as an ambassador for the game of basketball for much of this century?

This is what Coach K had to say about the trial: "I think it’s minute. It’s a blip. It’s not what’s happening."

Eleven words later, many were suddenly convinced that Krzyzewski doesn't understand the magnitude of the situation. He went from a wise leader to a cranky old coach who doesn't want things to change.

Change—where have we heard that word before? Ah, that's right, the very same Krzyzewski talked about it when one of his own player's name came up in a set of documents Yahoo got from the FBI.

"It’s a horrible time for the game, but the game has begged, it’s been on its knees begging for change for years, and sometimes unless something horrible happens, you just don’t change," Krzyzewski said in February. "We need change. We need to take a look at amateurism and define it probably differently. We have to look at it through the prism of a 16-year-old kid and a family, and what they should be allowed and make sure it’s the same things that are allowed to other NCAA athletes or maybe do something that would be ahead of the game and become more modern in what we’re doing."

So what happened? The NCAA convened its Commission on College Basketball and made the most minimal of efforts to reform. The group came up with a vague set of recommendations, and the group of 11 so-called experts consisted of no current coaches and just two current athletic directors. 

If you truly think that former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and retired Army General Martin Dempsey are the people that understand the ins and outs of college hoops better than anyone else, you're sorely mistaken.

While all of this was happening, Coach K continued to talk. 

He spoke up as far back as last year's Duke media day, telling reporters in October 2017, "We don’t have a good model, a model that fits what’s happening in basketball." And in August, once the NCAA's recommendations were published, he said, "I'm being somewhat critical of the coordination and the implementation, the process of getting there and the process of making it happen. Who is doing that?"

The answer? Not Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Tom Izzo or any of the game's veteran leaders, coaches who have always been respected and trusted when it comes to the sport of basketball.

This is far from a full-throated defense of Coach K. Maybe Krzyzewski really doesn't understand what is going in the game because the Blue Devils are isolated in their sport, among the upper echelon of programs who need not turn to shoe companies to dump bags of cash upon their recruits' doorsteps.

He is not, however, apathetic when it comes to problems surrounding the sport. Krzyzewski is not a hypocrite, turning his back to scandal and telling us, 'Everything's fine, nothing to see here.' Perhaps he is making an attempt to salvage college basketball's image, but maybe he is simply worn out.

Coach K may just be frustrated that, even a year after he first talked about these issues, nobody at the NCAA is listening, that his voice is being excluded from conversations which could shape the sport for years beyond his career.

At age 71, Krzyzewski only has so much time in front of him. And with his 44th season as a coach just days away, he isn't looking back. 

So until the NCAA is ready to listen to Coach K, don't expect him to have much more to say.

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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