Coach K on 2021 NCAA Tournament: We need the tournament

During an appearance Tuesday morning on ESPN radio, Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke on the importance of the 2020-21 basketball season and the NCAA Tournament.

“We need to have the tournament. We can’t have it where two years in a row you do not have the NCAA Tournament.” Krzyzewski said while referring to potential financial ramifications of not having the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

According to Krzyzewski, who also praised the NBA (and WNBA) for their successful bubble initiatives, it matters less about when the tournaments take place. However, the revenue these events generate is vital, especially when paired with the opportunity cost of not having the 2020 tournaments, which were canceled back on March 12.

The loss of the NCAA tournaments was a serious financial hit — upwards of $375 million, per MarketWatch. Initially set to distribute a payment of $600 million to its member institutions, that figure was reduced to $225 million for the NCAA: a 62.5 percent cut.

This mirrors what Krzyzewski said during an interview with ESPNU Radio last month. During that conversation, Coach K addressed the need to have multiple contingency plans that, ultimately, result in the championship tournament taking place — somehow, some way.

On Monday this week, Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, made it known that there are contingencies in place. As teams workout on campus, nothing is official yet; however, the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees will take the lead on the discussions, according to Gavitt, who expects a decision by mid-September regarding the current Sept. 29 start date (for practice) for teams that are set to play Nov. 10.


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