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Jeff Walz and the Louisville women’s basketball team switched hotels in the San Antonio area ahead of their Sweet 16 matchup against Oregon on Sunday.
With that switch, however, apparently came a new COVID-19 restriction.
His team, Walz said Friday, is no longer allowed to take any outdoor walks.
“The only time we get to see the sun is when we get to walk across the convention center for a COVID test or to get on the bus to come here to practice,” Walz said, via USA Today.
Walz: ‘I’m really concerned about the mental health side of it’
Though he thinks the coronavirus protocols that have been implemented by the NCAA have done a good job of keeping the tournament moving — only a single men’s game has been canceled due to a coronavirus issue — Walz is starting to get worried about his players’ mental state.
Walz also was one of several coaches in the league to speak out about the blatant inequities between the women’s and men’s tournaments in the past week — something that took off after the weight room, or lack thereof, at the women’s tournament went viral on social media.
“Throughout my career in women’s basketball, I have witnessed many of the disparities still being experienced today,” Walz wrote, in part. “I am grateful to have worked at a number of institutions that understand the importance of supporting and fighting for equal opportunities for female athletes … The incongruencies between the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments being documented on social media are an illustration of our decision makers’ lack of consideration and communication.
“We must do better in women’s basketball and across the landscape of collegiate athletics to be a model for what to do, not an example of what not to do. Our female athletes are not asking for special treatment, they are asking for fair and equitable treatment.”
The Cardinals cruised to a 21-point win over Marist in their opening round game, and then beat Northwestern to reach the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year. While he’s focused on keeping their run going, Walz knows how important something like a walk really is.
“We are grateful to be here, don’t get me wrong on that,” Walz said, via USA Today. “We have worked all year to have this opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament.
“But we have brought up a few things and I’m hoping that the NCAA committee is going to be able to make some things possible where our kids can get out and at least get a little bit of Vitamin D to just get some sun and some fresh air.”
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