UNC should face severe punishment after victory over Duke basketball

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

North Carolina should face severe punishment after its victory over the Duke basketball team. 

Saturday’s game between the North Carolina Tar Heels (12-6, 7-4 ACC) and the Duke basketball program (7-7, 5-5 ACC) is water under the bridge.

North Carolina won, and there’s no changing that.

However, what transpired hours after the game could have a lasting impact on the Tar Heels, the rest of the teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the rest of the country.

In a video obtained by The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina, men’s basketball forwards Armando Bacot and Day’Ron Sharpe are seen partying with non-basketball personnel maskless after their victory over the Blue Devils.

Minutes after the victory, students rushed Franklin Street in celebration, a normal occurrence when the Heels defeat their bitter rival or win some other big game during the season, but it’s strictly against COVID-19 health and safety protocols set forth by the university this season.

University of North Carolina Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz quickly took to Twitter to try and get the students to return home, but obviously, that weak request was not successful.

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Shortly after the video surfaced of the two forwards partying, the ACC made the decision to postpone Monday’s matchup between the Tar Heels and Miami Hurricanes hours before tipoff.

The team announced two statements, one by the players and one by head coach Roy Williams, on Tuesday afternoon:

It’ll be interesting to see what the “very significant price” is. Don’t put too much stock in the punishment actually being severe besides a lot of running at practice.

Severe punishment should be handed down after Duke basketball game

Every conference and every team accepted a set of rules to abide by for the 2020-21 season.

These rules put players in a ‘bubble’. Away from friends, families, and others in order to safely play college basketball.

It’s the reason why very few fans, if any, are in attendance at games this season.

You may like the rules, you may dislike the rules. Your opinion really doesn’t matter on the topic because these are the rules of the 2020-21 season, and they must be followed in order to play.

For example, I don’t like that there is a rule against texting while driving, but I follow it because it keeps me and everyone around me safe.

This was the only way there could be a season. If a player didn’t want to abide by said rules, he had the ability to opt out.

Eligibility doesn’t count this season. If a freshman was uncomfortable playing, he didn’t have to and would still have four years of eligibility remaining, and so on and so forth.

Hundreds of other teams have experienced a COVID pause. It happens. The virus is unpredictable, and it has impacted some programs more than once.

ALSO READ: Duke continues to search for answers in return to court

But very few, if any, programs that have seen their season paused because of COVID-19 had a public video surface of players partying without masks after a victory.

What the North Carolina Tar Heels did is a slap in the face to every team that has followed all the rules this season and a bigger slap in the face to those teams that have followed the rules and had multiple COVID-related pauses.

Forfeiting all games that are postponed or canceled because of this situation should not be a farfetched idea because of how deliberate the breach of the rules was.

In fact, it should be the punishment.

It won’t happen. But it should.

It’s still unknown when the Tar Heels will play again, but at the moment, they are scheduled to take the floor on Saturday night against the No. 9 Virginia Cavaliers.

Duke and North Carolina will play their second meeting of the regular season on Saturday, March 6, inside the Dean Dome.

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