Duke's Coach K: We Can't Go 2 Straight Years Without the NCAA Tournament

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his players against North Carolina State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski stressed the importance of playing the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament after the marquee event was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coach K explained the financial importance of March Madness for college athletics during an appearance Tuesday on ESPN Radio's Keyshawn, JWIll & Zubin.

"We're the thing that the NCAA is most concerned about because men's college basketball and the tournament pays for something like ... it produces 98 percent or more of the money for the NCAA," he said. "We need to have the tournament. We can't have it where two years in a row you don't have the NCAA tournament."

Krzyzewski said the NCAA should be extremely flexible with its scheduling for the college basketball season to ensure the tournament is contested, even if it doesn't happen in March:

"I think that's where you should start. Make sure you have the tournament. It doesn't make any difference when it is. Because we don't even know when the NBA season is going to be next year. And we should look at them to see how they navigate the waters going forward. They've navigated them really well with the bubble."

The Basketball Hall of Fame coach, who's guided the Blue Devils to five national championships, previously urged the NCAA to begin exploring "contingency plans" in July on SiriusXM Radio:

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In March, Andrew Lisa of Yahoo Finance reported the men's NCAA tournament generates around 75 percent of the governing body's yearly revenue thanks in large part to its $933 million in advertising revenue.

NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said Friday they've discussed the potential for using a bubble similar to those of the NBA and NHL to complete the tournament.

"It's something we've been talking about and studying for some time, since the NBA shared their plan," Gavitt told ESPN's Myron Medcalf. "We've had a chance to see its execution. We know that it works."

The national championship in men's basketball had been awarded every year via the NCAA tournament since 1939 before this year's cancellation.