Duke, the only team in canceled Battle4Atlantis not in South Dakota replacement tournament, aims for own event

The Battle 4 Atlantis has officially canceled its 2020 tournament, which was scheduled to be played Nov. 25-27 in the Bahamas. A verified Twitter account connected to the event confirmed as much Friday. 

But just because the event is officially canceled doesn’t mean all the teams scheduled to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis are without a tournament. Multiple sources told CBS Sports that the event organizers behind the Battle 4 Atlantis held a conference call on Thursday to confirm that all the schools scheduled to play in the event were still on board to participate in the tournament moving from the Bahamas to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with the exception of the most notable: Duke. 

Creighton, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah, West Virginia and Wichita State affirmed their commitment. Sources said the event has multiple schools in the wings to replace Duke and/or any others that may end up opting out. (Utah has not been given clearance to play yet because Pac-12 presidents and chancellors haven’t reversed their August decision to halt all fall and winter sports until Jan. 1.)

The yet-to-be-named South Dakota tournament is scheduled to be played Nov. 25-27, keeping in line with the original dates for the Battle 4 Atlantis. 

With Duke not expected to participate in South Dakota, sources told CBS Sports that Duke is in the initial, exploratory stages of planning to a host a multi-team event on its campus. The event would ideally be held with an emphasis on amplifying social justice reform, sources said. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski made a powerful anti-racism, Black Lives Matter video statement in June. Former Duke player Nolan Smith, who is the director of basketball operations for the Blue Devils, has also been an outspoken advocate for social justice reform. In August, Duke held a Black Lives Matter protest — organized by Smith — just outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium, where coaches and players spoke on system racism and fighting for permanent change for Black people and all minorities. 

CBS Sports has reached out to Duke for comment on the matter.

With the NCAA deciding on Wednesday to change college basketball’s start date to Nov. 25, scheduling changes are afoot everywhere in the sport. The other high-profile November tournament, the Maui Invitational, is moving to Asheville, North Carolina this year. Multiple events are sprouting up across the country, with Connecticut, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Houston and Indianapolis serving as potential host locations. 

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