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.
Coach K’s full response when asked about the challenges of playing through the pandemic, and if it “feels right”: pic.twitter.com/oDxK5oOXnV
— Brendan Marks (@BrendanRMarks) December 9, 2020
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?
Best part of this from K is the “do you know who to call to ask that?” line. Really drives home that no one is in charge. https://t.co/q4e6HDIlQx
— Ben Swain (@TheBenSwain) December 9, 2020