Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski Supports California’s Fair Pay to Play Law

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law—dubbed the Fair Pay to Play Act—that will allow college athletes in California to earn money from endorsement deals. Today, the new law got a big boost: Legendary Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski told Matt Norlander of CBS Sports that he supports it.

“I’m really happy this is happening,” Krzyzewski said.

The Fair Pay to Play Act prohibits the NCAA from barring a university from athletic competition because the school allows its athletes to profit from deals using their name, image, or likeness. California is the first state to enact a law like this, and it goes into effect in 2023.

Coach K, a five-time NCAA tournament champion, joins other notable athletes in endorsing the new law, including NBA stars Draymond Green and Lebron James, who hosted Newsom on his talk show The Shop to sign the bill. The NCAA, on the other hand, has been highly critical of the law, which contradicts the organization’s prohibition on players profiting from their sports. According to Bleacher Report, NCAA President Mark Emmert called endorsement deals for college players an “existential threat,” and pointed out that different laws in different states could cause chaos in the league.

With Krzyzewski’s new statements, the Fair Pay to Play Act has gained another high profile supporter. He’s the first major coach to come out in favor of the law, according to Bleacher Report. In a statement posted on Twitter, he called NCAA rules “stagnant” and pointed out that the league has fallen behind on making sure players’ rights are addressed.

“We’ve had our head in the sand a lot for college,” he told Norlander. “We need to stay current with what’s happening. I’m glad it was passed because it pushes the envelope, it pushes the issue.”

Mike Krzyzewski is in favor of what California governor @GavinNewsom did, said dozens of states will pass legislation by end of 2019-20 season .”We need to stay current with what’s happening. I’m glad it was passed because it pushes the envelope, it pushes the issue.”

— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) October 8, 2019

For more info on the new law, check out our coverage here.

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