Coach K on Playing Through COVID-19: 'I Don't Think It Feels Right to Anybody'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2020

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski listens to a question during the Atlantic Coast Conference NCAA college basketball media day in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is concerned about the NCAA's lack of leadership as the organization attempts to hold a basketball season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to reporters after the Blue Devils' 83-68 loss to Illinois on Tuesday, Krzyzewski explained why playing games now doesn't feel like the right thing to do:

"I don't think it feels right to anybody. I mean, everyone is concerned. 

"We made an assessment. I'm not sure who leads college basketball. It's done by committee. Anything that's led by committee is not agile in handling a situation. There was a consensus. It wasn't like well-planned. Just that we were going to start Nov. 25. That was made without knowing where the vaccine was, how many cases. Basically, it was more a mentality of get as many games in as possible. I would just like for the safety, the mental and physical health of players and staff to assess where we're at."

Krzyzewski had been outspoken about having the NCAA tournament, telling SiriusXM's ESPNU Radio in July:

"We need to have the NCAA tournament, and we need to have some contingency plans based on when the season would start. Everyone says it's going to start on time. We'll see.

"I would like for us to take a great look at contingency plans, you know, when it might also be. Can it be in April? Can it be in May? But we need—and the NCAA needs—[a] men's NCAA tournament. If you don't have it two years in a row, the NCAA, financially, could go in another direction."

Per Kyle Boone and David Cobb of CBS Sports, there have been 50 games canceled or rescheduled since the college basketball season started Nov. 25.

The 2020-21 season was originally supposed to begin Nov. 10, but the NCAA adjusted its schedule for men's and women's basketball, with teams allowed to play a maximum of 27 games. They must play at least 13 games to qualify for the NCAA tournament.