The NCAA has shown its true colors once again, this time by canceling NC State's season
Updated: Sep 25, 2021
North Carolina State’s baseball team has been the topic of discussion within the last few days, as the NCAA ruled their scheduled game against Vanderbilt “no contest because of Covid-19 protocols. As a result, NC State’s season came to an end not because of their play on the field, but because of the decisions of those from the NCAA. To make matters worse, the NCAA provided no real details in their statement regarding the decision to declare Saturday's contest against Vanderbilt a no contest. However, knowing the NCAA and how they’ve handled controversial situations in the past, did anyone expect any better from them? The NCAA’s statement read, “The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee has declared the Vanderbilt-NC State Men’s College World Series Game scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at 1:00 p.m. CT a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols,” the NCAA’s statement read. “This decision was made based on the recommendation of the championship medical team and the Douglas County Health Department. As a result, Vanderbilt will advance to the CWS Finals. The NCAA and the committee regret that NC State’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to continue in the championship in which they earned the right to participate. Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details.” NC State faithful were outraged, and rightfully so. The team was playing arguably the best baseball of their season at the time of their season-ending and were one win away from appearing in the College World Series Finals. Had NC State ended up winning the College World Series, it would’ve been the school’s first national title in any team sport since 1983. However, due to the decision of the NCAA, they had that opportunity snatched from them.
It all started after NC State upset Vanderbilt in game one. Head Coach Elliot Avent said in the postgame press conference that a few of his players and an assistant coach had been dealing with what was described as “a bug.” Unfortunately for Avent and the Wolfpack, a player tested positive for Covid-19 the next day. The player who tested positive, along with his roommate began their mandatory quarantine. After multiple days of negative test results, the player in close contact with the other player who tested positive, also received a positive Covid test. The madness continued though, as two others showed positives and were given an antigen test, which came back positive. The game was delayed by one hour due as the medical team was deciding what the best action would be. After the delay, NC State was then limited to only thirteen players, who all had been vaccinated. The Wolfpack fought hard but fell 3-1 to Vanderbilt in game two of the series. After the game, the entire NC State roster was tested for Covid-19, additional players tested positive, resulting in the NCAA’s decision to declare the game no contest.
The reaction to the NCAA’s decision was indifferent amongst those in the sports world, as thousands of fans voiced their displeasure with not only the decision of the NCAA but also how the NCAA handled the situation. Joey Wolferetti of packinsider.com described the NCAA’s decision as “one of the slimiest, least transparent, and down-right cowardice moves in their history.” As controversial as it could be to some, I completely agree. The NCAA just single-handedly eliminated a team in contention for a National Championship. I understand that the safety of the players is important, however, no Vanderbilt players have been required to isolate or quarantine after their contest against the Wolfpack, and the Commodores will go straight into play against Mississippi State in the College World Series Finals, although Vanderbilt players were tested for Covid and cleared to play. Furthermore, the NCAA announced just over a month ago, that the college world series would be at 100% capacity meaning that over twenty thousand people will be in attendance. How exactly is that in favor of the safety of the players? On top of that, there are no Covid restrictions at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, yes you read that right, ZERO Covid restrictions. Furthermore, masks are optional at TD Ameritrade, and if we’re being honest there are probably less than fifty fans wearing their masks each game at TD Ameritrade. So once again, how is this safe for the players? The NCAA has clearly once again shown through the hypocrisy of their actions, how they truly do not care for the athletes and what’s in their best interest. Rather, the NCAA cares to cover their backside, while raking in piles of money that eighteen to twenty-two-year-old athletes generate for them; all while these athletes cannot profit off of the money they create. Once again though, did anyone expect any better from them? This is nothing new to the NCAA, this is just another example of their corrupt, selfish, business-centered decisions being of more importance than the athletes they represent. Unfortunately for some Wolfpack players, their careers are over. While for the NCAA decision-makers, they get to continue rob young athletes like those of NC State’s baseball team. The bottom line, the NCAA must do better.
Although NC State’s season came to a sour ending, the support for the team poured out from fans all over the world through social media, and even in person as the Wolfpack faithful showed their appreciation for the team and their run in the College World Series as they arrived back on campus. It was estimated that anywhere from eight hundred to one-thousand fans were outside of Doak Field on NC State’s campus as the team arrived in Raleigh Saturday night (wralsportsfan.com). The support for the Wolfpack made the ending to their Cinderella story a little less bitter, but also sends a message that we should all back the pack.