Premium Partners

Duke's Coach K: Playing Doesn't 'Feel Right to Anybody'

Paul Steinbach

Duke University men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski criticized his sport's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic after his 10th-ranked team lost to No. 6 Illinois on Tuesday, its second defeat at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season.

It's a season that has already seen dozens of coronavirus-related game cancelations or delays nationwide. 

As reported by CBS News, Krzyzewski was asked in a postgame news conference about playing basketball as the number of COVID cases around the U.S. continues to rise and is expected to get worse approaching the holidays and beyond. 

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

Krzyzewski targeted leadership in NCAA basketball, which is governed by conference commissioners.

"We made an assessment," he said. "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." 

"It wasn't, like, well-planned," he added. "We were going to start November 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. And I would just like for the safety, the mental health and the physical health of players and staff to reassess where we're at."

He stopped short of calling for the season to be shut down, according to CBS, but urged the league to "reassess" the situation as virus-related deaths continue to mount and vaccines are expected to be deployed this month. Krzyzewski implied the NCAA is focused on revenue generated from March Madness and less about how it arrives to that point. 

"I know the NCAA is worried about the end game," he said. "They're not as worried about the game we're playing right now."

Krzyzewski admitted that while his comments could be interpreted as frustration after another home loss, he expressed concern over players who won't get to see their families over the holidays. 

"A lot of kids aren't going to be able to go home for Christmas," he said. "It's probably a time where they should, for mental health. But we're just plowing through this."

Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
AB Show 2022 in Orlando
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Learn More
AB Show