Duke's Coach K on All-Inclusive NCAA Tournament: We Must Be Agile and Creative

Jenna CiccotelliContributor ISeptember 9, 2020

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski wants the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament to feature every Division I basketball team to account for what he called "an irregular season." 

Krzyzewski, along with other ACC coaches, is proposing an "all-inclusive" tournament that would include 346 teams.

"This is not a regular season," he said in a statement, according to Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde. "It is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative."

Krzyzewski issued a statement through the Duke men's basketball Twitter account elaborating on the concept:

"In the ACC, we believe in the importance of celebrating our game. There is no better way to do that than involving every team in the most prestigious basketball tournament on the planet.

"In the thoughtful discussions among ACC coaches, the three primary factors we considered in formulating this idea were the health and safety of our players, the incentive that there will be games, all of which lead to the NCAA tournament this spring, that we need to be unified as a sport – all 357 Division I teams – competing in the game we love." 

Krzyzewski, who has been the head coach at Duke since 1980, has raised concerns regarding the NCAA's financial situation should the men's basketball tournament be canceled again. Ahead of the tournament's cancellation in March, Andrew Lisa of Yahoo Finance reported the men's tournament generates around 75 percent of the NCAA's yearly revenue, with $933 million coming through advertising.

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"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 in August on ESPN Radio.

According to Stadium's Jeff Goodman, all but 11 of the 357 Division I men's basketball teams would be eligible for the tournament: seven are reclassifying and three are academically ineligible. Oklahoma State is ineligible for the postseason due to recruiting violations.

Traditionally, the men's tournament includes 68 teams, with 32 conference champions and 36 teams earning an at-large bid.