“Personal decision” becomes way less personal and private when it begins to affect other people.
Players made a personal choice to play under the authority of the NCAA.
Players made a personal decision to attend NCSU.
They made a personal decision to accept scholarship money worth as much as $200K, to play for their baseball team.
Coach Avent chose to accept a $427K salary.
As such, the university, baseball program, etc, are exceptionally invested in them.
That obligates them to in fact play, and make decisions that will continue to allow them to compete at a high level. That encompasses a lot of things. Some of them are clearly named, like “don’t smoke pot since the NCAA will drug test the team.” Others aren’t specifically named, but clearly understood. Things like, “don’t get hammered the night before the game” or “don’t start a food fight in the cafeteria.”
In this case, the “personal choice” has consequences for all 35 guys on the roster.
The NCAA is a billion dollar cartel. Period. Even the SCOTUS says as much. They don’t really care about player safety, or really much of anything except insuring the continued profitable and efficient operation of said cartel.
Thjs isn’t about science or public health, it’s theater. That’s doubly true since the vaccine became widely available. But so is the TSA, and dealing with either the NCAA or the TSA means you deal with their BS if reaching your goals is important. Want to stand on principle at the security checkpoint? Fine. Hope you don’t miss your flight. Want to stand on principal in front of the NCAA? Fine. Hope you’re ok with how that effects your teammates.
A majority of those players aren't on scholarship, that I can guarantee you, so no they didn't make a personal decision to accept scholarship money.