Pitino renews call for season to start in March

Rick Pitino expects a COVID-19 vaccine to give college basketball a chance for success, an approach that would require patience and an extended pause to the regular season.

Pitino, in his first season as the coach of Iona, runs one of the growing number of programs on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ll say it again, to anyone who will listen, push the season back to March, and then have May Madness. Give the Vaccine a chance. In the best interest of all involved!” Pitino said via Twitter on Monday afternoon.

On Nov. 14, Pitino went public with his plea for the NCAA to move the annual tournament and March Madness to May.

“Save the Season. Move the start back. Play league schedule and have May Madness,” Pitino said. “Spiking and protocols make it impossible to play right now.”

The NCAA season opens Wednesday, and Pitino’s Gaels were scheduled to play at Fordham.

Multiple schedule changes hit Monday, including major programs pausing in the SEC — Tennessee, Ole Miss — and the postponement of Duke’s season opener. Additional alterations are expected, according to multiple reports, but conferences are being left to make their own decisions about starting the season this week.