Duke women’s basketball has canceled the remainder of its season “due to health and safety concerns stemming from COVID-19,” per a Friday release from the team.
“The student-athletes on the Duke women’s basketball team have made the difficult decision to conclude their current season due to safety concerns,” Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for Public Affairs & Government Relations and Chief Communications Officer for Duke University, said in the release. “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.”
Bridget Condon of ABC11 had also reported earlier Friday that the players were the ones “pushing for the team to opt out.”
The Blue Devils originally reported two positive cases of COVID-19 within the team’s “travel party” Dec. 16, shutting down team activities indefinitely. This came five days after Louisville announced a positive COVID-19 case within its own program just after defeating Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Only the Blue Devils’ games against N.C. State Dec. 20 and UNC-Wilmington Dec. 22 were originally affected, but now the season’s cancelation leaves Duke as the first Power Five basketball program to start and cancel its season.
After the Louisville game, Duke head coach Kara Lawson responded to a question regarding playing the season during the pandemic by saying, “I don’t think we should be playing right now.” This came before Louisville’s positive COVID-19 case was announced.
In addition to Schoenfeld’s statement that ” Duke will maintain our current schedule of competition in other sports”, both the AP’s Doug Feinberg and The News and Observer’s Steve Wiseman reported that Duke men’s basketball is not affected by this decision.
This is a developing story. Check back for more details.
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