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Coach K: “These kids go through a lot, they’re not paid employees.” Duke basketball forgoes remaining non-conference schedule

Duke basketball will forgo the remaining portion of its non-conference schedule for the 2020-21 season. The decision to forgo comes amidst growing concerns with COVID-19. Back on Tuesday, following a home loss to Illinois, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke out on the anxieties that come with playing basketball during a global pandemic — that’s never been worse.

This has sparked a necessary national conversation over the last few days; ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas has raised similar concerns during multiple broadcasts and interviews. Both Krzyzewski and Bilas have been critical of the NCAA, which continues its silence on the issue. Krzyzewski isn’t the only coach speaking out. Pitt head coach Jeff Capel has voiced his concerns as well. So, too, has Duke women’s basketball coach Kara Lawson.

Upcoming games against Charleston Southern (Dec. 12) and Gardner-Webb (Dec. 19) are canceled. In a video released by the university, Coach K stated that Duke will not reschedule any other non-conference games. Krzyzewski hopes that Duke will still be able to play its full conference slate, though, which starts next Wednesday vs. Notre Dame.

Krzyzewski also notes that — after months of living in Durham without seeing their families — the players will disperse for a few days at the end of December to spend time with their loved ones.

Elsewhere in the ACC: Boston College football elected to not play in a bowl game at the end of the 2020 season. Players will now have time — amidst an unbelievably stressful year — to see their families for the first time in six months.

 

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