Duje Dukan Fought Mono and the NCAA Won


The news about Duje Dukan‘s suspension “penalty” for playing in a closed scrimmage and exhibition game, despite missing the rest of the 2012-13 season with mononucleosis, is just about everywhere right now.

Dukan was denied a medical hardship waiver for the year and will be forced to sit out the games against Northern Kentucky University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Not hugely important games by any stretch. It’s not like he’s going to miss Florida or Duke, these games are winnable with Nigel Hayes and Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky by themselves.

But this goes to another issue we’re all too familiar with. The NCAA and its weird, almost too-fictional-yet-true rules regarding when or when not to suspend somebody. Or in this case, what is considered a medical hardship.

Usually we see medical hardships, or the colloquial medical redshirts, arise when players go down with an ACL tear or other season-ending Joe Theisman leg break on national television things.

The player cannot have played in more than 30 percent of games, or be in the second half of the season and must have all the correct documentation (saying exactly how much he’s in pain and why) otherwise a whole season is lost. So why does Duje Dukan having mono get treated like the common cold by the NCAA? It shouldn’t and here’s why.

First off, I’ve never had mono. Flu, sure. Pneumonia and bronchitis, absolutely. But not mono, thankfully. But if you knew someone in middle school or high school with mono, you didn’t for very long. They may have been going to class regularly and were friends, but once they got sick, they may have well stopped existing.

Did you here Duje Dukan has mono? No … wait, who? is what people would’ve probably said around the UW-Madison campus a couple years ago. Mono takes about a month to recover and unlike summer vacation where everyone is off at the same time, a D1 athlete, in prime physical condition, having a month-long period of fever, fatigue, swelling and a myriad of other ailments, is not coming back entirely the same person and 100 or 90 or 80 or even 50 percent ready to dive back into the normal and subdued world of being yelled at by Bo Ryan in a highly competitive basketball league.

No wonder someone would want to take off for a whole season.

But Duje Dukan got better. Now all we can hope for is the NCAA to get mono in the next few days so they can stop handing down these ridiculous judgements for at least a good month.