The coach of the Baylor University women’s basketball team on Monday said she thinks the NCAA should stop testing athletes ahead of the Final Four this week.
“After the games today and tomorrow, there’s four teams left, I think, on the men’s side and the women’s side,” coach Kim Mulkey said during a postgame news conference after Baylor was eliminated from the women’s NCAA Tournament by the University of Connecticut.
“They need to dump the COVID testing. Wouldn’t it be a shame to keep COVID testing and then you got kids that test positive or something and they don’t get to play in the Final Four? So you just need to forget the COVID tests and get the four teams playing in each Final Four and go battle it out.”
Players in the men’s and women’s tournaments have been tested daily and so far only one game, a first-round game on the men’s side, has been canceled and ruled no contest due to COVID-19.
Mulkey herself contracted COVID-19 late last year, ESPN reported, and was critical of the NCAA for pushing on with the season despite ongoing health concerns stemming from the pandemic.
“The answer is this: The season will continue on. It’s called the almighty dollar,” Mulkey said at the time. “The NCAA has to have the almighty dollar from the men’s tournament. The almighty dollar is more important than the health and welfare of me, the players or anybody else.”
Mulkey bemoaned the lack of consistent COVID-19 protocols, saying, “One conference does this, one conference does that.”
“The CDC says this. Everybody is confused. I’m confused. I’m uncomfortable coaching. I understand, COVID is real. I’ve had it — come talk to me sometime,” she continued. “But I don’t know … all the calls and procedures, that’s gonna go on and make it unusual, uncomfortable for every program. We’re no different at Baylor.”