Krzyzewski: “Do you know who to call to ask about that?”

Following his team’s loss to Illinois in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was critical of college basketball leadership, which is largely vacuous, while expressing concern for the current state of the sport amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the Duke-Illinois game was in its final minutes, news broke that Virginia and Michigan State postponed their scheduled matchup due to COVID-19 concerns within the UVA program. Out of 14 scheduled ACC-Big Ten Challenge games, three have now been postponed or canceled.

Krzyzewski was critical of the build-up process to season, saying that it wasn’t well thought out:

You have this committe, and anything that’s led by committee is not agile in handling a situation. And so we made an assessment, and there was a consensus. It wasn’t well-planned that we’re going to start November 25. That was made without knowing if there’s going to be a vaccine. Basically, it was more of a mentality of “get in as many games as possible.” And I think I would just like, just for the safety, the mental health of our players and staff…to assess where we’re at.

College basketball isn’t necessarily unique in this regard; however, it’s wild to see just how many American sports planned for a season by establishing a few protocols and hoping for the best.

Coach K pointed out the current surging nature of COVID-19 case numbers as cause for serious concern. More pain is on the horizon in America, too. Without a national lockdown of some kind, thing will continue to worsen over the next two months. Vaccines are on the way, as Krzyzewski pointed out; they are safe and effective, but these will take time to distribute.

In the meantime, college athletes will be forced to remain on campus — or wherever their programs are have assigned them residence — and away from their families during the winter holidays. This was something Krzyzewski highlighted, too. It’s a concern for the well-being of his players and staff.

The COVID-19 virus has laid bare a myriad of global leadership failures. However, in America, as the smooth functioning of systems continues to falter, it becomes very easy to wonder: Who is actually steering this ship?


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