Duke season ends after positive COVID-19 test

The men’s basketball season for Duke University came to an abrupt end Thursday after the team confirmed a positive COVID-19 test within the program hours before its ACC tournament game against Florida State. 

Following reports from Sports Illustrated and the Stadium sports network, Duke confirmed that it was backing out of the tournament in a Thursday morning tweet, calling the announcement “SAD NEWS.” 

“We will not continue competing in the 2021 ACC Tournament due to our school’s and conference’s health/safety protocols,” the team wrote, adding, “The determination was made following the positive COVID-19 test for a member of our program’s Tier 1 personnel after Wednesday’s game.” 

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The team immediately followed the news with a separate tweet of a single broken heart emoji. 

CBS Sports’s Matt Norlander reported Thursday that the positive test marks the first among the Duke team’s Tier 1 personnel, which includes players and coaches. 

While Duke did not specify which team member tested positive, Norlander cited a source who said it was a player who did not participate in Wednesday’s win over Louisville. 

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No. 10 Duke was scheduled to play No. 2 Florida State Thursday evening. Duke dropping out now pushes the Florida team into the tournament semifinals. 

The season is now all but over for Duke’s Blue Devils, which will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995. 

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement shared on Twitter on Thursday that while the team was “disappointed” it was not moving forward, he commended the team’s performance throughout the season. 

“While our season was different than any other that I can remember, I loved the 2020-21 Duke Basketball team and was honored to be their coach,” Krzyzewski wrote. "We have not asked more of any team in our history, and they deserve enormous credit for handling everything like the outstanding young men they are."

The coach went on to note that amid the coronavirus pandemic, the basketball season “was a challenge for every team across the country.”

“As many safeguards as we implemented, no one is immune to this terrible virus,” he added.