CHARLOTTE—With the new proposed California bill aiming to increase compensation for collegiate athletes, the movement now has one very notable backer.
At Tuesday's ACC men's basketball Media Day in Charlotte, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski came out in support of California Senate Bill 206, commonly known as the "Fair Pay to Play" Act, which would permit collegiate athletes to gain compensation for endorsements and sponsorships while still competing in the NCAA.
Krzyzewski released an official statement at the conclusion of his press conference:
“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 catchup 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 it stays that way.”
The five-time national championship-winning coach said he expects "dozens" of states to pass the same bill before the end of the season. Krzyzewski emphasized that the situation should be seen as "the total package of what's right for the student and how it compares to students who don't play basketball."
The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, made headlines around the collegiate sports world when he appeared on LeBron James' platform UNINTERRUPTED to sign the bill in September. The act builds on the efforts of former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, who led a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA to provide compensation for using athletes' likeness. The bill would also allow student-athletes to hire agents.
"There are a number of people who don't want to change anything in the collegiate model, and I think we need to look at that as a whole issue, not just this one thing for image and likeness, but what is best for these kids," Krzyzewski said.