The Duke women’s basketball team has decided to stop playing basketball for the rest of this season as first reported by the AP.
Duke issued a statement not from athletics but the communications office of the university.
“The student-athletes on the Duke women’s basketball team have made the difficult decision to conclude their current season due to safety concerns,” said Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for Public Affairs & Government Relations and Chief Communications Officer for Duke University. “We support their decision, as we have supported the choices made by all student-athletes at Duke during this unprecedented time. Duke will maintain our current schedule of competition in other sports and will continue to observe our rigorous health and safety protocols, which include daily testing for all student-athletes and are based on guidance from leading medical experts.”
It was the first season for new Duke women’s basketball coach Kara Lawson, who transitioned from ESPN commentator to leader of a program with a proud tradition. But she made it clear where she stood on playing during the Covid-19 crisis earlier this month. She said this “I don’t think we should be playing right now. That’s my opinion on it.”
She isn’t the only Duke hoops coach with questions, as Mike Krzyzewski has publicly discussed his reservations about the season as well.
“People are saying the next six weeks are going to be the worst,” Krzyzewski said previously. “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?”
The Duke women were picked to finish 10th in the 15-team ACC this season.