By LARRY VAUGHT
If Rick Pitino had his way, he would not be making his coaching debut at Iona in November.
Pitino was hired at Iona in March three years after he was fired at Louisville over NCAA allegations into the program. Pitino, 67, spent the last two seasons coaching Panathinaikos B.C. in Greece.
However, due to COVID-19, Pitino doesn’t think the season should start on time.
“Suggestion to the NCAA, push the start of the season back to January and only play league games. Buy some more time for a vaccine and to get things under control. Although I can’t wait to be back on the sidelines, the health of my players and staff is what’s really important,” Pitino posted on Twitter.
That’s basically what ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale said in a video he posted on Twitter a day earlier.
“Basketball, we don’t know if the season’s going to go off on time.Nobody knows. I certainly don’t know. I’m not a Dr. (Anthony) Fauci, no expert with this coronavirus that seems to be on an uptick throughout our nation, but the bottom line is: let’s say it’s delayed. Why not do this? Most schools are now talking about starting in August, running through Thanksgiving, and then coming back in January.
“Well, what about this? Plan 1: start in January, right? Start the season then. Shorten the season. Play conference games. No. 2, shorten the season. No. 3 you play within your conference, you play maybe 18 games, two a week. No. 4 you shorten the travel, you should travel within your conference.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari had a different message on Twitter Wednesday.
“Wear a mask!!! Let’s take care of each other. We are going to get through this but we need to do it TOGETHER and help each other out. The best way to do that is to put that mask on when you’re out in public. #TeamKentucky #TogetherKy,” Calipari posted. “And let’s remember to continue to practice social distancing and wash those hands!!!”
Obviously, everyone has to agree with Calipari — or should it seems to me. Pitino and Vitale? You make your own call but I am not going to fault anyone who thinks putting safety first is the right thing to do.