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More On the Evaluation Of The Duke Women's Program

It's probably best to take a deep breath and see where this goes, but how Duke handles it is absolutely critical.

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Dec 29, 2014; Hartford, CT, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Joanne P. McCallie watches from the sideline as they take on the Connecticut Huskies in the first half at XL Center.
Dec 29, 2014; Hartford, CT, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Joanne P. McCallie watches from the sideline as they take on the Connecticut Huskies in the first half at XL Center.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

We're still not really sure what happened with the women's program Tuesday.

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In case you missed it, Swish Appeal broke the story: Duke is "evaluating"  Joanne P. McCallie's program and issued this statement Tuesday afternoon:

"The welfare and success of our student-athletes are among Duke’s highest priorities. To that end, we are in the process of conducting an evaluation of the Duke women’s basketball program. This effort is led by a Duke human resources professional outside the Athletics Department. Coach McCallie is aware of the evaluation and eager to assist. We look forward to hearing the insights of those involved in the program and any recommendations that may result from this evaluation."

Eager might be a stretch: no one wants to hear that an HR investigation is happening and no on in her right mind is eager to be the focus of such an investigation.

Swish Appeal has modified the original post which now includes this:

"The administration at Duke has begun an investigation into the women's basketball program for the mistreatment of players and coaches...Duke Legal has already spoken with current players and is planning on interviewing former players, and also former staff members, who have been under Coach Joanne P. McCallie during her tenure at Duke. There have been multiple departures in her time as head coach, and sources say that it is because of the alleged mistreatment."

It's important to remember that the key word in that is alleged because nothing has been proven yet. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but the lacrosse hoax should remind us to wait until the facts are fully understood.

That's not to say there's no there there. We're certainly not here to say that this is all nonsense and everything is fine. We're only pointing out that nothing has been confirmed or verified as of now.

All sorts of things are going to swirl around in the short term and the simple fact is that most of us have no clue what the allegations are, much less whether they are true or not.

That said, we need to remember this too.

It's vital that Duke University find out what this is about and does so quickly, fully and as transparently as possible. We realize that the law means some things cannot be made public but whatever can be should be. Ruthlessly. Nothing should be held back or kept under wraps. Put everything out for the public to see.

We don't have to look too far to see the consequences of trying to cover something up or to minimize the impact. The UNC scandal has gone on for years now and much of the damage comes from a refusal to face up to what happened honestly and objectively.

If there is anything to these allegations, we trust that Duke will deal with it swiftly, fairly, firmly and openly.

Most importantly, if any player or players on the team have suffered mistreatment of any kind, the university owes those young women total compassion and kindness of every sort possible.

We'll be following this closely of course. Stay tuned.