Dawn Staley, Kim Mulkey and Kelly Graves speak out on cancellation of the NCAA tournament
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley
“This is a difficult time with so many conflicting emotions. First and foremost, we have to recognize how important it is to do the right thing for our community. Sports is a big part of our lives, but just one part of how we are connected to each other. We need to step back and think about the larger good served by canceling events that put people at risk.
“As competitors, we are certainly disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to contend for a second National Championship. That said, it will not diminish the way we look at our season, how we value our body of work over the last few four months. We have measured ourselves against the best in the country over that time, and will embrace and relish that accomplishment.
“For our seniors and the others throughout the country, who will not have the chance to finish their careers the way they expected to – that’s a tougher, more emotional thing to process. Again, we have to lean on that this is the right thing for everyone’s health and safety.”
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey
First, I recognize the potential health issues for the student-athletes and the public at large, and I am sensitive to making sure we do our part to ensure the safety of everyone. We were, however, disappointed to learn that we would not be able to have the opportunity to defend our national championship.
We were particularly saddened for our seniors, Lauren Cox and Juicy Landrum, as well as our graduate transfers Te’a Cooper and Erin DeGrate. They poured their heart and soul into our program, and without knowing it, they may have played their final game on March 8.
Yesterday, I was shocked to learn of the NCAA’s decision to cancel, rather than postpone the championship. It would be helpful to all of us to know what information the decision makers had that resulted in the outright cancellation of the championship, rather than an attempt to delay until the situation improves.
I am appreciative that the NCAA is now considering the impact on student-athletes not having a postseason in women’s basketball. It is still my hope that if the current situation improves, the NCAA will make every effort to revive the championship this year. If not, I hope they give serious consideration for seniors to have an additional year of eligibility.
Oregon head coach Kelly Graves