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More On The End Of Basketball Season For Duke Women

Things are rarely what they first seem through the media prism

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Clemson
Dec 9, 2020; Clemson, SC, USA; A Covid-19 warning on the scoreboard for the limited capacity crowd attending the game with Clemson and Maryland at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a longish article from the estimable Michelle Voepel of ESPN about Duke women’s decision to cancel their basketball season.

Here are a couple of the comments included. Jade Williams tweeted this out: “I’m amazed at people. To clarify.. we together as a team, decided to opt out of our season. We are in a pandemic STILL because not enough people are taking it serious. Basketball players are not just entertainment. There shouldn’t be casual attitudes about COVID now a year in.“

UConn’s Geno Auriemma: “You never know the whole story. Somebody asked me, ‘Do you think more programs will do that?’ Who knows? Obviously very surprising, but unexplainable? No, totally explainable.”

First, who can argue that basketball players are not just entertainment? We see them for small slices of time in a very limited format. That’s why we think Duke made a brilliant decision some years ago to highlight players on social media and to allow their personalities to shine through. It was nearly impossible to dislike Marshall Plumlee after seeing him conduct interviews, for instance.

We didn’t see the article, but apparently the News & Observer reported that before packing it in, the team asked the ACC to require daily testing. We thought they already were (it’s three times per week). It seems like a reasonable request.

Incidentally, SMU’s women’s basketball has also opted out.