The 2020-21 College Basketball season is less than two weeks away, but there is already plenty of turmoil. The United States is currently experiencing a massive COVID-19 outbreak in virtually every state. Rick Pitino, who is back in the sport this year as the head coach at Iona, is very concerned about the current plan by the NCAA.
Back in September, ACC coaches proposed a pretty bold change to the season, calling for an all-encompassing NCAA Tournament with every single Division I team. That would allow the NCAA to establish bubbles to work through the season, rather than try to have teams hosting numerous games on campus and traveling across their conference footprints all winter. Pitino supported the idea initially, and brought it back up on Friday.
“The NCAA basketball committee going to wish they listened to the ACC proposal to have an open NCAA tournament,” Pitino tweeted on Friday. “Protocol makes this basketball season nearly impossible to survive.”
Today, he is back on the platform, calling for reform to the schedule, which currently has the season starting on Nov. 25. “Save the season,” he said. “Move the start back. Play league schedule and have May Madness. Spiking and protocols make it impossible to play right now.”
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
We’ve already seen how bad things have gotten with college football this week. We’ve had over 60 games canceled or postponed already this week, with 15 getting the axe just this week. The SEC and Pac-12 have been the most negatively impacted this week, showing that this is a true nationwide problem.
College basketball teams are smaller, which helps, but there are more frequent games and travel which causes issues. Rick Pitino is right to fear that this season may not work as currently constituted, and considering the NCAA had over eight months to figure out a workable solution, it is pretty disheartening that we’ve gotten little effective leadership on this issue.
Right now, there is no downturn in sight for the virus, and we’re probably not going to be able to rely on a vaccine being available enough to just eliminate this over the next few months. We know teams will do their best, but there’s only so much that you can prevent with how prevalent this is right now.