Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Duke’s women’s team wasn’t the only basketball program to suspend its season last week

It’s the end of the line for Chicago State’s 2020 season.
It’s the end of the line for Chicago State’s 2020 season.
Photo: Getty Images

When you’re 0-9, people tend to ignore you even when your acts are newsworthy.

Last week, Duke’s women’s basketball program made headlines when they opted-out of the rest of the season due to COVID-19.

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In case you missed it, Deadspin wrote about it.

But, what almost everyone missed is that Chicago State’s men’s basketball program did the same thing, two days earlier.

“It was a difficult decision, but a necessary decision in order to prioritize the health, wellness, and academic success of the student-athletes,” said Elliott Charles, athletics director at Chicago State University, in a release from the school.

The winless men’s team has decided to shut things down while the school’s remaining 14 programs – including women’s basketball – will keep playing. Like most programs, the Cougars had multiple “Covid issues” this season, as their head coach – Lance Irvin – even missed some time in the preseason.

If you’ve been following college basketball this season, then you know the ante just got upped on Coach K. Earlier this month, the Duke men’s basketball coach said this.

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“You have people saying that the next six weeks are going to be the worst — and it’s already pretty bad. Well, should we not reassess that and just see what would be best?”

The comments came after Duke got waxed at home 83-68 to then-No. 6 Illinois. It was the second home non-conference loss of the season, which is something that never happens at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Coach K’s comments were part of a larger point he was making about how weird it feels to be playing during a pandemic.

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“I know somebody will take what I’m saying tonight and make it like I’m making excuses,” he said.

Two days later, Coach K canceled the rest of Duke’s non-conference schedule “out of an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow the Blue Devils’ student-athletes time over the holidays to spend with their families.”

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But, was it enough?

Before the season, Coach K said this:

“The key thing is we should have sensitivity to the kids playing the game, he explained. “That’s the key thing in all of this, the sensitivity to the kids playing the game and making sure it’s a safe environment and that everyone is doing it the same way medically.”

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But again, was it enough?

Given that he had doubts in October and canceled games in December, many are wondering what Coach K and his team will do from here on out. The other team that plays in Cameron Indoor Stadium has shut things down, and a program from Coach K’s home town has, too.

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What would happen if the face of college basketball followed suit?

Who knows.

But, what will happen if he doesn’t?

Good point.

There are so many questions that we don’t have the answers to. But in the end, there’s only one that matters.

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Whatcha gonna do, Coach K?

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 & 2020 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.