On Monday, two hours before game time, the UNC men's basketball team's scheduled ACC matchup with Miami was indefinitely postponed. A statement released by Carolina Basketball on Tuesday details an apology from the players, which comes in response to a surfaced video of UNC players Armando Bacot and Day'Ron Sharpe at a party, disregarding public health guidelines.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect college sports, some of our Editorial Board members weigh in on the situation here:
Ben Rappaport, Editorial Board member:
Miami’s apprehension to play the game on Monday was justifiable given the video of Bacot and Sharpe. How UNC responds to the video of two of its star athletes openly breaking COVID-19 community guidelines will serve as a litmus test for how it handles those that rushed Franklin Street Saturday night. Will UNC make an example of their athletes, or will they let them by with a slap on the wrist? The same can be asked of the hundreds of students that rushed.
All we have seen so far is a passive statement acknowledging the fault of Saturday’s actions from the team and head coach Roy Williams. But the statements themselves read as performative words that apologize for getting caught rather than substantive.
The bottom line is: actions have consequences. Partying during a pandemic is a blatant display of privilege. UNC has shown they give a lot of leeway to those with privilege and power, but this time around needs to be different.
Vance Stiles, Editorial Board member:
Canceling the UNC-Miami basketball game two hours before tip-off was only expected. Their Medical Advisory Group guidelines state that a major consideration to the cancellation of a game is the inability to "quarantine high contact risk cases." Obviously, the video obtained by the DTH demonstrates a “high contact risk case."
However, if the video had not been released, would the game still have been canceled? Could the non-compliant behavior, if not publicized, have led to COVID-19 spread at the game? Miami’s head coach, Jim Larrañaga, is 71. Roy Williams is 70. Both are in COVID-19 high-risk categories due to their age. If cases had become endemic to the teams ... well, you can imagine what could have happened.
It’s good the game was canceled. Transparency was there, the protocol was followed and any chance of spread was contained. But what happens when there’s no video, no exposure report? That's where the future of this season lies.
Rajee Ganesan, assistant opinion editor:
It's no doubt that partying during a pandemic is irresponsible, post-rivalry win or not. And it's fully correct that Bacot and Sharpe made an immature and selfish decision, but it can also be true at the same time that individuals make mistakes, especially as college students. It in no way warrants public harassment of individual students, such as the death threats that Bacot has allegedly received since the video surfaced on social media.
Although the basketball program will most definitely handle the situation internally, it is important to keep in mind that athletes at the University are under severe public scrutiny. What makes Bacot and Sharpe any different than the individuals partying down the street at Fraternity Court? Yes, actions do have consequences, but the University's should have been enforcing COVID-19 protocols from day one — which clearly hasn't been the case.
And this isn't just a UNC problem; it's been an issue at many universities with high-profile sports programs. From Notre Dame storming the field to Alabama partying after their national championship, universities need to address how COVID-19 guidelines change post-game activities.
And until UNC starts taking the blame over individual players like Bacot and Sharpe — yes, you can expect your gameday plans to be canceled at a moment's notice.
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