Duke Players Will Need to Police Themselves: "We're Not Putting a GPS Chip Under Your Skin"


Duke’s football team began reporting back to campus on Sunday morning. While the program has set up protocols to keep the virus from spreading through the facility, the real risk may be with what the players do during their free time away from the field and weight room.

“It’s probably the most difficult thing that we’re going to face is that very item,” coach David Cutcliffe said. “We may have them in a normal circumstance, four hours a day—that’s the max when school starts. That certainly will be the biggest issue. In camp, we can pretty much occupy them a great deal. I’m actually going to build a book with a daily log. Literally, what a daily log looks like for everyone, so we as coaches and them as players can see how much free time they’re going to have.”

Then it will be up to the team leaders.

“I actually told our players this,” Cutcliffe said. “This may seem naïve. I’m putting them in charge of that mitigation. I’m not going to follow them around. I told them, ‘We’re not putting a chip under your skin to GPS you.’ There has to be responsibility on some 22 and 23 year-olds to help. They know what each other are doing. Don’t kid yourself. They know. They know what their other buddies’ habits are. If they choose not to mitigate themselves, then we’ve got a problem.”

As case spikes around the country have shown, just because parts of society are reopening, that doesn’t mean that the risk is over.

“When we first started hearing about phase two, I reminded each one of them, ‘Reopen means recommitment,’” Cutcliffe said. “It’s actually more comm to mitigation than less. They were looking at me like, ‘Well, why? They said it’s safe to reopen.’ No, they said we can attempt to reopen. If you mask. If you physically distance. If your hygiene work increases, you’ve got a chance of staying healthy.”