The Duke basketball program has canceled the remainder of the 2020-21 season over COVID-19 concerns.
It was not the Christmas surprise anyone had on their lists in Durham as one of the Duke basketball programs canceled the remainder of its 2020-21 season over COVID-19 concerns.
In the midst of the first season under new head coach Kara Lawson, the Duke Women’s Basketball program released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:
The news was first reported by Doug Feinberg, the Associated Press’ women’s college basketball reporter.
Duke had paused all basketball operations following positive COVID-19 tests within its program on December 16.
Prior to the pause, the Lady Blue Devils (3-1, 0-1 ACC) had suffered their first loss of the season against the Louisville Cardinals, who announced positive coronavirus tests within their program days after the victory against Duke.
Until the women’s basketball team had paused all operations, there were no other known positive COVID tests within the Duke athletics department dating back to the arrival of student-athletes on campus this summer.
Head coach Kara Lawson had echoed similar sentiments of men’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who said that the NCAA needed to reassess playing college basketball in the middle of a raging pandemic.
“I don’t think we should be playing right now. That’s my opinion on it,” Lawson said in early December.
The Duke basketball decision was student-athlete driven
Despite the opinion of the women’s head coach, the decision to cancel the remainder of the season was driven by the players, who did not feel comfortable playing basketball as over 330,000 Americans have died as a result of COVID-19.
“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 via a statement.
The decision to cancel the remainder of the Duke women’s season has no impact on the rest of the schedule for the Duke men’s program, which is scheduled to return from a holiday break and resume play on December 29 against Pittsburgh.