Last Updated on June 27, 2021
The NCAA handed the Vanderbilt University baseball team a College World Series semi-final victory and national championship berth after sidelining their opponents from North Carolina State over the league’s apparent COVID-19 protocols. The NCAA’s highly controversial decision comes just one month after the architect of the nation’s COVID-19 response, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave the commencement address at Vanderbilt’s 2021 graduation ceremony and was honored with the school’s Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal, awarded to those who “define the 21st century.”
The NCAA’s middle-of-the-night announcement that it had handed Vanderbilt a national championship berth came just hours after the team had escaped elimination, narrowly defeating an NC State Wolfpack already down half a roster due to COVID-related “issues” and forcing another game to be played Saturday for the right to advance to the championship round.
Though it has been reported that NC State players had tested positive or been exposed to COVID, the NCAA has not elaborated on what the COVID-related issues cited in forcing NC State to play short-staffed and ultimately forfeit are, reportedly due to medical privacy laws and guidelines. Much of the decision-making process seems to have been shrouded in secrecy, with even NC State’s players and coaches being kept in the dark by the NCAA and health officials.
“I have no idea what’s going on. Zero,” NC State Head Coach Elliot Avent said following Friday night’s game, just hours before the team was forced to forfeit Saturday’s matchup. “It just hasn’t been communicated,” Avent explained.
According to the NCAA, the decision to sideline NC State was made in conjunction with the Douglas County, Nebraska Health Department, whose jurisdiction includes Omaha, the home of the College World Series. Douglas County is one of just two Nebraska counties to have reportedly been carried by Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election and the City of Omaha, its county seat, has enforced some of the most Orwellian COVID-19 restrictions in the state.
“The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee has declared the Vanderbilt-NC State men’s College World Series game scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at 1 p.m. Central Time a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols,” a statement from the NCAA reads. “This decision was made based on the recommendation of the championship medical team and the Douglas County Health Department. As a result, Vanderbilt will advance to the CWS Finals.”
Outrage over the decision by the NCAA to advance Vanderbilt to the national championship round has been widespread, with ballplayers and those from the world of politics alike blasting the move.
America First Congressional candidate, Jarome Bell called out Vanderbilt and the NCAA alike in a tweet pointing out the school’s close ties to Dr. Anthony Fauci and questioning their involvement in the NCAA’s decision-making process, saying Vanderbilt should be “ashamed of itself for using its ties to Lord Fauci to hand a ‘win’ to their baseball team.”
.@VanderbiltU shuld be ashamed of itself for using its ties to Lord Fauci to hand a "win" to their baseball team, and a "loss" to N.C. State.
— Jarome Bell (@JaromeBellVA) June 26, 2021
In addition to Vanderbilt’s close ties to Dr. Fauci adding what many feel to be a deep political layer to the NCAA’s decision, many have speculated that the vaccination of status of NC State players and pro-freedom attitudes of Coach Avent may have played a role in the decision to hand Vanderbilt the win, pointing to conversations between Avent and reporters in the hours ahead of the decision.
When pressed about the vaccination status of him and his players, Avent pushed back on reporters from the often left-wing-dominated world of sports media, saying that he supports his players’ right to choose when it comes to their medical decisions and refuses to “indoctrinate” them.
“My job is to teach them baseball, make sure they get an education, and keep them on the right track forward,” Avent said. “But I don’t try to indoctrinate my kids with my values or my opinions.”
“Obviously, we talk about a lot of things, but these are young men that can make their own decisions. And that’s what they did.” When asked directly whether or not he had taken the COVID vaccine himself, Avent told reporters to direct the “politics and stuff” to the head of sports medicine. “I’m not going to talk about that,” he said. “If you want to talk baseball, we can talk baseball. If you want to talk politics or stuff like that, you can go talk to my head of sports medicine, Rob Murphy.”