DURHAM -- Mike Krzyzewski never mentioned North Carolina’s football team, not once. He didn’t have to. The context of the Duke basketball coach’s comments on agents and their influence was abundantly clear.
“I don’t think it’s easy to prevent a kid, whether you have one kid or a dozen kids, from doing something that’s wrong,” Krzyzewski said today, in response to a question about whether it is easier to keep track of 12 scholarship basketball players than 70 or 80 scholarship football players.
“I think it takes … you have to develop a family culture, a team culture, that doesn’t accept that. Because obviously, if something happened, somebody knows about it. And you would hope that somebody in your culture, not necessarily just a coach, would stop that. Hopefully you would hire people that would not become a part of another culture which would subvert the culture you’re trying to build.
“I don’t know what the answer to that is, when you trust somebody and that trust is not warranted. These things can happen to anybody. Just like something can happen socially or academically. It can happen to anybody, and you just have to do as much as you can to reduce the chance of that happening, whether you have 12 or 80 or 100 … I don’t know what’s easier. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to try to stop it. Including the agents. Including everybody involved.”
Three North Carolina players have been dismissed from the team and associate head coach John Blake resigned as a result of the NCAA’s ongoing probe into the UNC football program, part of which focuses on improper benefits received from agents.
Krzyzewski said he feels confident in the way his program handles agents, relying heavily on Duke law professor Paul Haagen and Krzyzewski’s personal relationships with many agents, but that it requires commitment from players and their parents to do the right thing.