By Milo Boublik
New York City, New York
The NCAA should pause the college basketball season amidst growing concern about the pandemic.
As COVID-19 cases continue to spike in America, with over 200,000 cases each day, the NCAA continues to allow college basketball to be played. Games are being canceled or rescheduled every single day due to the NCAA deeming it unsafe for the teams to play, which begs the question: why won’t the NCAA just shut the season down already, or at least put it on pause until America begins to get COVID-19 under control?
Many respected voices in college basketball have spoken on this issue, and there seems to be a general consensus among them. Mike Krzyzewski, the hall-of-fame coach of the Duke Blue Devils who has led them to five national championships and twelve Final Fours, recently spoke on this issue. Krzyzewski said, “For the good of the game, and the good of the safety and mental and physical health of our players and staff and whatever, we need to constantly look at this thing. And I think that’s, I think that’s a smart thing to do.” He continued, “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?”
Krzyzewski’s point seems very logical. In the matter of just over a month or two, the United States could potentially be in a far better position with the pandemic due to promising vaccine prospects. The NCAA should have the patience to wait and see how it pans out as opposed to, in Krzyzewski’s words, “just plowing through this.” Krzyzewski said, “I don’t think it feels right to anybody. I mean, everyone is concerned.”
Another respected basketball coach, Jeff Capel, Pittsburgh’s men’s coach, voiced a similar opinion. He said, “It’s interesting to me, if you look at the numbers back in March when the season was canceled, the numbers are worse right now than they were back in March.”
ESPN analyst Dick Vitale agreed with these coaches. He said, “The solution is simple. Stop the season. Stop the games, men’s and women’s, right now. There’s no shame in this. It’s the smart thing to do” He proposed a plan: “Why can’t we move this season to March 1 and play the tournament in May? I think they should sit back and reevaluate everything because, with the pandemic, it’s just going to get worse.”
As more coaches and influential people in the college basketball world express their apprehension for continuing the season, the NCAA should listen to these concerns and put a halt to the season to protect all of the players, coaches, staff, and anyone else involved with college basketball.