The college basketball season is slated to begin later this month. Doing this in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, presents a number of challenges, and in the eyes of one of the sport’s most prominent coaches, there’s no point to rush getting back onto the floor.
Rick Pitino, who is slated to make his return to coaching in the States this year with Iona, called on the NCAA to postpone the start of the 2020-21 campaign. While advocating for “May Madness,” Pitino stressed that he believes a delay would help “Save The Season,” and that trying to start right now is “impossible.”
Save the Season. Move the start back. Play league schedule and have May Madness. Spiking and protocols make it impossible to play right now.
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) November 14, 2020
Pitino is coming at this from the perspective of someone whose program is in a holding pattern due to COVID-19. Someone within the Gaels’ program who is not a player had a positive test recently, and as a result, Iona got put on ice for 14 days. This, per the New York Post, means Iona’s opener on Nov. 25 is out, and games in Mohegan Sun at the end of November/beginning of December are in jeopardy.
Myron Medcalf of ESPN laid out some of the issues in the world of college hoops right now. One coach at a school in Michigan that isn’t D-I said his conference is apparently planning on players wearing masks during games, while other coaches have repeated Pitino’s sentiment.
One high-profile coach recently told ESPN that the current situation for college basketball is “scary.” Another coach in a non-Power 5 league said he thinks it’s “impossible” for his league to play.
The first college basketball games this season are scheduled to take place on Nov. 25.