NC State DQ’d from College World Series

Stupid is as stupid does.

The North Carolina State Wolfpack baseball team has had its epic run through the College World Series upended by NCAA COVID-19 protocols.

ESPN (“NC State out of College World Series due to COVID-19 issues; Vanderbilt to finals“):

Eleven hours after NC State took the field at the College World Series with a depleted roster because of COVID-19-related issues, the Wolfpack found out their season was over.

Around 2 a.m. ET Saturday, the NCAA Division I baseball committee declared Saturday’s winner-take-all bracket final between NC State and Vanderbilt a no contest due to COVID-19 protocols, putting the Commodores into the CWS championship round.

Vanderbilt will face the winner of Saturday night’s bracket final between Texas and Mississippi State.

The NCAA said the decision to rule NC State out was based on the recommendation of the championship medical team and the Douglas County (Nebraska) Health Department.

“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,” the statement read. “Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details.”

As ESPN’s Peter Burns rightly notes, this is bad on so many levels. It’s bad for Wolfpack players, coaches, and fans. It’s bad for Vanderbilt, who backs into the championship and will therefore have any victory tainted. It’s also unfair to the Texas/Mississippi State winner, in that they’ll face a rested Vandy team.

But, of course, the natural question is “How did this happen?” We’re at the point where my 12-year-old is vaccinated. Surely, NC State—a big-time program in the Power 5 Atlantic Coast Conference—ensured that all its varsity athletes vaccinated?

Don’t even think about asking.

The unique situation turned the postgame news conference into a discussion about COVID-19 vaccinations for NC State coach Elliot Avent, who tried to avoid the topic.

“I’m not going to talk about that,” said Avent, when asked if he was vaccinated. “If you want to talk baseball, we can talk baseball. If you want to talk politics or stuff like that, you can go talk to my head of sports medicine Rob Murphy.”

Of course, the bigger issue was whether NC State players were vaccinated since some apparently tested positive for COVID-19. Avent — who said possible positive tests were “personal” — added that it wasn’t his place to tell players to get vaccinated.

“My job is to teach them baseball, make sure they get an education and keep them on the right track forward,” Avent said. “But I don’t try to indoctrinate my kids with my values or my opinions. Obviously, we talk about a lot of things, but these are young men that can make their own decisions. And that’s what they did.”

So, I’m going to take that as a No. And, further, proclaim that Avent should be fired before the team gets back from Omaha. I guarantee you that Alabama’s Nick Saban doesn’t see player safety and the viability of his team as either “political” or “personal.” A coach is a leader and a teacher. Avent should have gotten his players vaccinated and, at a minimum, ensured that those who either refused or were for some reason ineligible for the vaccine followed the proper protocols. Failure to do that is a dereliction of duty.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Health
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Behavior, meet consequences.

    Avent should go, but he won’t.

    9
  2. gVOR08 says:

    Another testament to how successfully Trump politicized the virus.

    13
  3. Mimai says:

    But, of course, the natural question is “How did this happen?” We’re at the point where my 12-year-old is vaccinated. Surely, Vanderbilt–a wealth private university with an elite medical school on its campus and access to the big SEC television money–ensured that all its varsity athletes vaccinated?

    I think you mean NC State here. [Yes–fixed.]

    4
  4. Kathy says:

    I fear we may yet be short of peak idiocy.

    6
  5. Stormy Dragon says:

    Sounds like some of the NC State players are majoring in Fuck Around and Find Out Studies

    13
  6. After that golfer (I forget his name and am too lazy to Google it) who was DQ’d a few weeks ago out of the match of his lifetime (and a possible 7 figure payoff) and then when Chris Paul had to sit out part of the NBA playoffs, you’d think athletes would get the message.

    But instead, we have people like Buffalo WR Cole Beasley ranting about not getting the shot and threatening to retire rather than conform to protocols and now this.

    The evidence of efficacy of the vaccine is clear and yet here we are.

    16
  7. gVOR08 says:

    Conservatives see themselves as hard-headed realists. There’s never been much evidence for any but the hard-headed part, but these days, jeez.

    7
  8. dazedandconfused says:

    Not disagreeing at all with the point, but to my understanding the vaxed can and have tested positive. Bill Mayer, and recently Chris Paul had to sit out a couple games in the NBA playoffs to a positive test.

    Vaccines allow the body to squash infections very early, but do not prevent minor, short term, usually asymptomatic infection. We can’t assume a positive test means someone hasn’t been vaxed.

    4
  9. MarkedMan says:

    Excellent take James. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    1
  10. @dazedandconfused:

    We can’t assume a positive test means someone hasn’t been vaxed.

    This is true in the abstract. However, I expect the odds are quite high that these individuals were not vaccinated. Moreover, if they were vaccinated, I expect we would be hearing about that fact–instead we get evasion on the subject.

    10
  11. CSK says:

    I wonder if Avent told/ordered/instructed his players not to get vaccinated.

    6
  12. EddieInCA says:

    In my industry, we are all waiting the new RTW agreement between the AMPTP and the various unions, and we are all pretty certain the unions AND the studios are going to agree that proof of vacccination will be a condition of employment except for those with medical exemptions. We fully expect to get pushback from the Trump supporting departments (usually Tranpo and Construction), but the Teamsters have made it clear they’re fully supporting everyone having to be vaxxed in order t continue working.

    It’s going to be interesting.

    10
  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Construction has people who have specialized skills that will require an effort to replace if they balk. What exactly is transportation’s leverage here?

    1
  14. steve says:

    Athletics is voluntary. If the players dont want to get vaccinated and the coach doesnt want to require it that is fine with me. However, that means they can be booted like happened here which is also fine with me. What I dont want happening is everyone else giving in and letting them play. Let teams like this live with the consequences of their actions.

    Steve

    7
  15. dazedandconfused says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Not in the abstract, Bill Maher is an example. The vaxed can and do test positive, and this has been called unsurprising by the experts. I’m sure we would see a lot more of that if we were all tested weekly as entertainers are. It’s unfortunate the issue has been politicized, rendering the schools unable to say whether or not a player has been vaxed.

    3
  16. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: ” What exactly is transportation’s leverage here?”

    If they really don’t have the Teamsters on their side, nothing.

    3
  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Oh. If you don’t think transportation has leverage then I can assume you’ve never dealt with the Teamsters?

    1
  18. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:
    Recent history indicates Peak Idiot is a myth.

    3
  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The teamsters aren’t with them here though.

    3
  20. Teve says:

    I knew some very smart athletes when I was at NC State. One girl who sat next to me as an incoming physics major was also on the swim team. One of my coworkers in a polymer physics lab was also a nationally ranked cyclist. But of course, there were some dum dums too.

    1
  21. EddieInCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Construction has people who have specialized skills that will require an effort to replace if they balk. What exactly is transportation’s leverage here?

    The industry has no issues getting new people to join. If you’re a finish carpenter, do you want to work for $30 an hour at the whim of the General Contractor, with no work protections or pension or benefits, or do you want to earn $41 an hour as a union employee, with breakfast and lunch covered for you every day you work, with a medical, pension, sick days, and vacation benefits package?

    Anytime someone says to me “I don’t like unions”. I ask “What do you have against medical insurance and a pension?”

    8
  22. Tom Ganski says:

    @dazedandconfused: I think you can be assured that IF vaccinated players had been vaccinated (btw, vaccinated players were exempt from testing, so not sure how your scenario would have come to pass), you can be sure the MAGA coach would have been crowing about the conspiracy of the media and the government.

    1
  23. EddieInCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    What exactly is transportation’s leverage here?

    The Teamsters Union has a ton of leverage. However, individual drivers have zero, especially when they are taking positions opposite of what their union has bargained. The Teamster leadership, separate from what you might have heard, are no dummies. Twisted and corrupt? Sure. Dumb or stupid? No way.

    The Teamsters have no shortage of men and women who want to be Teamsters.

    4
  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I recall Eddie specifically mentioning that the Teamsters supported vaccination. Thus the question about what leverage Transpo has. (I assume that “transpo” here is not short for “trainspotting,” though.)

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA:

    The Teamsters have no shortage of men and women who want to be Teamsters.

    That was my experience 40-some years ago, and I only worked inside as a warehouse person. I didn’t get one of the really good jobs.

    1
  26. @EddieInCA:

    Anytime someone says to me “I don’t like unions”. I ask “What do you have against medical insurance and a pension?”

    I have a member of my family who got regular pay increases, lots of vacation time, and a comfy early retirement, but he didn’t like the union…

    3
  27. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I have a family member who refused to join the teacher’s union—even though their contracts are the only reason her diabetic husband was able to afford his insulin, and, later, dialysis, and keep a roof over their heads. For 27 years she benefited greatly from the union-negotiated contracts, while refusing to pay dues because they were “liberal”.

    7
  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Let me guess… Because he had to pay dues, take additional training, and was expected to show up at a meeting every now and again?

    Those guys are in every local.

    4
  29. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I have a member of my family who got regular pay increases, lots of vacation time, and a comfy early retirement, but he didn’t like the union…

    Like fish with water, they can’t quite grasp the counterfactual — what would things be like without the union? They seem to think that they would magically keep all of their benefits, without the dues and the annoyance and the petty (or not so petty) graft of the union leaders.

    Then again, this is a country where conservatives want to get the government out of their Medicare, and out of free markets. This isn’t really any different; it’s a failure of imagination.

    4
  30. @Teve: @OzarkHillbilly: @DrDaveT: It really is something, to be sure.

    The same relative gets all bent of shape about how liberal California is but then is amazed at how people in Alabama can burn trash at will and are not constrained by a number of regulations that are common in CA.

    3
  31. Gustopher says:

    It’s bad for Vanderbilt, who backs into the championship and will therefore have any victory tainted.

    Vanderbilt will have to win against other top ranked teams, so… barely any taint.

    Huh. I wonder why anatomical taint and impure taint use the same word, but as soon as that question pops into my head I really do not want to know the answer. Reality will either not live up to expectations or be disgusting.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: My employer has declared that when we start returning to the office, anyone unvaccinated will have to remain 6 feet from everyone else, and wear a mask.

    This prompted the angry Trumper to get vaccinated, because the mask is worse than the vaccine. He did get the J&J vaccine because “it’s the least effective”.

    I hate him.

    Meanwhile, I’m thinking “if I claim not to be vaccinated, I’ll get more space…” But it will be more space in a covid ghetto surrounded by dead-ender Trumpers.

    But, what if I can be the only holdout? A whole ghetto to myself… that would be sweet. Private office life.

    5
  33. Teve says:

    @Gustopher:

    This prompted the angry Trumper to get vaccinated, because the mask is worse than the vaccine. He did get the J&J vaccine because “it’s the least effective”.

    What?

  34. Barry says:

    @EddieInCA: “Anytime someone says to me “I don’t like unions”.” I ask “What do you have against medical insurance and a pension?””

    Because it goes to the Undeserving, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudowinkwinknudgenude.

    1
  35. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Barry:

    Because it goes to the Undeserving, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudowinkwinknudgenude.

    Which is an odd reason to hate unions, because making sure money didn’t go to ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudowinkwinknudgenude was a big thing for unions until relatively recently (indeed, if you go back to the history of the labor movement, this was a big part of why the CIO part of the AFL-CIO exists).

    1
  36. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    And to be clear, I meant the CIO came in to existence as a reaction to discriminatory policies in the AFL, particularly in the building trades.

    1