Sports

Graduation vs. games. How athletes at Duke, UNC and N.C. State balance the two.

Duke senior Jack Labosky (6) reacts after striking out against North Carolina pitcher Brett Daniels in the seventh inning on Sunday, May 13, 2018, at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.
Duke senior Jack Labosky (6) reacts after striking out against North Carolina pitcher Brett Daniels in the seventh inning on Sunday, May 13, 2018, at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.

With the Triangle buzzing as eight area colleges celebrate graduation this weekend, senior athletes from the region’s three ACC schools have different plans.

With baseball still in its regular season and sports like lacrosse, track and field and tennis in the postseason, not all of the senior athletes get to walk with their classes at N.C. State, Duke and UNC.

N.C. State held its graduation ceremony on Saturday at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack’s track team was in Miami for the ACC championship meet, so its seniors missed the ceremony. UNC and Duke also had athletes participating in that meet who were not in town for their graduations on Sunday morning.

The Wolfpack baseball team was home for a three-game ACC regular-season series with Wake Forest this weekend. Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. start time allowed the baseball players the option of attending the ceremony. N.C. State athletic department spokesman Fred Demarest said some, but not all, of the team’s seniors were in attendance.

UNC and Duke had the last of their three-game baseball series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. That meant the senior players from both schools had to skip graduation because of pre-game requirements.

UNC’s women’s lacrosse team played an NCAA playoff game against Virginia Tech at Cardinal Gibbons High School’s stadium in Raleigh, preventing its seniors from walking at graduation.

Duke’s men’s tennis team played in the NCAA tournament at Stanford on Saturday, so those players had to miss graduation, too.

Duke, though, offers an alternative plan.

The school will hold a special graduation ceremony for its spring sports athletes on Monday morning.

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