ACC coaches proposing NCAA tournament with all Division I teams

Coach K: 'We need to have the tournament' (1:01)

Mike Krzyzewski says the NCAA needs to prioritize the men's basketball tournament because of the money it generates. (1:01)

ACC men's basketball coaches are proposing an expanded 2021 NCAA tournament that would include every Division I team.

Several ACC coaches would prefer to avoid nonconference games in the 2020-21 season due to complications from the coronavirus pandemic, with sources telling ESPN that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is spearheading the push for an all-inclusive NCAA tournament.

ACC coaches voted Wednesday to propose the expanded 2021 NCAA tournament, sources confirmed to ESPN. The vote was first reported by Stadium.

Krzyzewski released a statement later Wednesday that said, in part, there "is no better way" to celebrate the game "than involving every team in the most prestigious basketball tournament on the planet."

He said the primary factors the coaches considered were the health and safety of players, the incentive that there will be games leading to the tournament, and that they need to be unified as a sport, with all 357 Division I teams.

"This is not a regular season," Krzyzewski said. "It is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative."

Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes gave his statement on Twitter.

"I am so proud to stand UNITED with every coach in the ACC in the belief that every Division I college basketball program should be allowed to participate in the NCAA Tournament this year!" Forbes tweeted. "This is what's best for our student-athletes, fans and the sport of college basketball. It will incentivize everyone that loves and cares about our great sport during these unprecedented times, and it will provide a safe environment for all to participate in. LET'S GET THIS DONE!"

Louisville coach Chris Mack also tweeted his statement:

The NCAA has maintained that the goal is still to have a 68-team NCAA tournament along the usual March-April timeline, although NCAA president Mark Emmert said in August that an NCAA tournament in a bubble environment with fewer than 68 teams could occur.

"Starting with 64 teams is tough. Thirty-two, OK, maybe that's a manageable number. Sixteen, certainly manageable. But you've got to figure out those logistics," Emmert said in an interview on the NCAA's website last month. "There's doubtlessly ways to make that work.

"It's obviously expensive to do that," he added. "But we're not going to hold a championship in a way that puts student-athletes at risk. If we need to do a bubble model and that's the only way we can do it, then we'll figure that out."

The NCAA Division I Council is expected to announce a decision on the format for winter sports, including men's and women's basketball, on Sept. 16.

ESPN's Myron Medcalf contributed to this report.