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Krzyzewski beats drum for more scholarship benefits


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 31, 2000

INDIANAPOLIS -- Duke's Mike Krzyzewski said the benefits of a full-ride scholarship are about the same as when he became coach at Army in 1975. And to him, changing times demand some changes in that area.

"We should investigate any way where we can increase what is placed under the umbrella (of a scholarship)," Krzyzewski said during Thursday morning's National Association of Basketball Coaches news conference. "It's a different age."

He said student-athletes are allowed to work to earn $2,000, but that a basketball player doesn't have spare time between September and the end of March Madness. Still, Krzyzewski, a board member and past president of the group, said the players have a job worthy of some compensation -- they're ambassadors for their universities at every game and at every charitable event they attend.

"Isn't there some way we could give them something for that?" he asked. "Is there any way we could protect them more in regard to insurance? We've never really looked at that as a group. ... They're much more than basketball players and we haven't been innovative enough to come up with ways under that umbrella to help them."

"We definitely need to look at other options in terms of ways to help the student-athlete," echoed Louisville coach Denny Crum, the NABC president.

HOT TOPIC: NABC executive director Jim Haney said another growing concern is the idea that summer recruiting should be reduced to 14 days -- or even eliminated.

He said neither action would curtail some of the problems (prospects coming into contact with agents and shoe companies) and hurt the mid- to lower-level Division I institutions that rely on the 24 days in summer as a "lifeline" to building and sustaining a competitive program. He said the NABC is countering the NCAA proposal with a 20-day period.

FANCY FRESHMEN: Florida's four-player freshman class has made quite an impact in the NCAA Tournament. Point guard Justin Hamilton has started all four games. Forward Matt Bonner has made 11 of 16 field goals. Forward Donnell Harvey has 22 rebounds, including 10 offensive. And point guard Brett Nelson has made 9 of 15 three-pointers.

REACHING OUT AND TOUCHING SOMEONE: GTE donated $250,000 to became the title sponsor of the NABC's 3-year-old literacy program that features coaches and players from more than 200 schools helping at-risk children appreciate the importance of reading.

HONOR ROLL: Crum received the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award. Crum has been involved in the group that has raised more than $12-million since its inception in 1993.

HE SAID IT: "He promised things, like when you graduate, I'm going to give you a tank." -- Krzyzewski, joking that his Army coach and mentor Bob Knight was ahead of his time in terms of trying to do more for his players.

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