- The Duke Blue Devils basketball team has cancelled their remaining non-conference games. Duke is coming off a 15 point home loss to Illinois which dropped the team to 2-2.The ‘party line’ is that the decision was made to allow players to spend time with family over the holidays.
- Duke is coming off a 15 point home loss to Illinois which dropped the team to 2-2.
- The ‘party line’ is that the decision was made to allow players to spend time with family over the holidays.
It has become apparent that college sports will just make things up as they go along for the immediate future knowing that anything can be rationalized as being due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That dynamic was on display in college football yesterday as the Big Ten played fast and loose with their own rules to set up the most lucrative possible postseason payday with Ohio State. Today, college basketball provides the elite program entitlement story.
The Duke Blue Devils are ‘above the law’ in college basketball to a much greater degree than Ohio State’s football team has the Big Ten wrapped around their finger. That’s likely why Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski knows that he can get away with anything and not have it hurt his team come tournament time. Earlier today, Duke announced that they were canceling their remaining non-conference basketball schedule. Think it might have anything to do with Tuesday night’s 15 point loss at home to Illinois? Maybe the Blue Devil’s underachieving 2-2 record? Of course not–Duke wouldn’t do such a thing. It’s all for the good of ‘the student athletes’–at least that’s what we are to believe.
Obviously, the reason for the move is the COVID-19 pandemic–if you’ve already guessed that the decision was made ‘out of an abundance of caution’ go to the head of the class. Instead of just going with this rationale Coach K hammed it up like he was angling for a Tony Award as he all of a sudden started to question the wisdom of playing college hoops during a pandemic:
“I would just like for the safety, the mental and physical health of players and staff to assess where we’re at. People are saying the next six weeks are going to be the worst. To me, it’s already pretty bad. On the other side of it, there are these vaccines that are coming out. By the end of the month, 20 million vaccine shots will be given. By the end of January or in February, another 100 million. Should we not reassess that? See just what would be best?”
“On the other side of it, there are these vaccines that are coming out. People are saying that by the end of the month 20 million vaccine shots will be given. In February, another 100 million. Well, should we not reassess that and see what would be best?”
But wait! That’s not all…..Coach K then turned in the most overwrought and schmaltzy Christmas performance by a Catholic since the days of Bing Crosby:
“This is the best decision we could make as a program, in making sure that we are doing the right thing for our players. This will also allow our team to have time over the holidays to safely enjoy with their families. These kids need to be with their families, at least for a little bit. So we will play the Notre Dame game on December 16, and then allow our team four or five days at home before returning here to prepare for the remainder of our ACC schedule – and hopefully get to play all of them. These kids go through so much, and we need to take care of them.”
“I’ll be home for Christmas…because we’re 2 and 2” maybe?
Unfortunately, not everyone thought that Coach K’s heartwarming ‘Christmas miracle’ was sincere. In the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge is Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats who had the temerity to question Coach K’s motives–particularly as it concerns playing during the COVID-19 pandemic:
“Do you think if Coach K hadn’t lost his two nonconference games at home that he would still be saying that? We 100 percent should be playing basketball.”
“Like, what are these guys gonna do? I’ve got three daughters, they need to be in school. Humans aren’t made to sit alone in isolation for weeks and weeks on end. We gotta be careful on how we do life, but you still gotta do life. A huge part of life for these guys that I’m coaching is being in the gym playing basketball.”
In the span of four games the Blue Devils have doubled the number of non-conference home losses the program has suffered in the past 20 years. The last thing Coach K needs is for, say, 2-0 Elon to drop another non-conference ‘L’ on Duke.
Thank you, Coach K for showing us all the *true* meaning of Christmas!