The NCAA College World Series finished in Omaha, Nebraska, but it was not immune from the coronavirus pandemic hysteria gripping American higher education institutions. This time, pandemic testing led to the men’s baseball team from North Carolina State University (also known as “N.C. State”) losing out on a spot in the national title game due to positive tests.
N.C. State Wolfpack’s men’s baseball team was informed at the last minute that their team was removed from the tournament before their second game in the three-game series. N.C. State played short-handed in the first game due to many positive coronavirus tests, and lost a close game against last year’s champion, Vanderbilt University. NC. State’s coach, Elliott Avent, told the press, “Quite frankly I have no understanding of what happened today,” referring to the circumstances of playing short-handed without much notice.
The NCAA declared the next game a “no contest” between N.C. State and Vanderbilt, which was N.C. State’s second loss in a best-of-three series. Meaning, N.C. State was eliminated without playing a full complement of games and Vanderbilt moved onto the title game against Mississippi State University. Mississippi State would go on to win the national title.
The Tarheel State’s Republican lawmakers disagreed with the NCAA’s decision.
Former Tarheel State Governor, Pat McCrory, blasted the decision as “absurd.” He began an online petition to fire NCAA President Mark Emmert and reinstate the Wolfpack baseball team. McCrory correctly pointed out that NCAA was hypocritical in letting fans into the stadium to watch the College World Series games without masks or coronavirus testing, yet required testing for young, college athletes. He said that the decisions “have been extremely inconsistent regarding the virus.”
But it did not garner enough momentum and the NCAA stood by its decision to remove the baseball team from the tournament.
The NCAA said that its decision came after consulting the Douglas County Health Department in Omaha, Nebraska.
North Carolina Republicans and the NCAA have sparred over issues before. In 2016 and 2017, the NCAA withdrew its championship events out of North Carolina unless the state legislature repealed House Bill 2. The bill, signed into law in 2016 by then-Gov. McCrory, required people in schools and government buildings to use the bathroom that matches their gender at birth. The NCAA and left-wing activists blasted the law as discriminatory against LGBTQ+ people, with the NCAA claiming it was an issue about “fairness” and “providing a safe and respectful environment.” The law was repealed in 2017.