NCAA College Basketball

Rick Pitino calls for college basketball season to be pushed back to January


Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal Published 1:20 p.m. ET July 1, 2020

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From winning a state championship to playing at Kentucky and the two painful words, Christian Laettner, we sat down with former Wildcat Richie Farmer. Louisville Courier Journal

LEXINGTON – Former Kentucky and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino thinks college basketball’s 2020-21 season should not start on time in November.

“Suggestion to the NCAA, push the start of the season back to January and only play league games,” Pitino tweeted Wednesday. “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 is not the first person to suggest basketball’s schedule might need to be altered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a recent interview with The Athletic, NCAA President Mark Emmert suggested the season could actually begin early and be played with fewer games with an extended winter break.

Pitino led both Kentucky and Louisville to national championships, though Louisville’s 2013 title was later vacated by the NCAA due to the Katina Powell scandal.

Knights’ day: Wednesday marks Bellarmine athletics’ first step as a Division I program

Louisville fired Pitino in October 2017 after his program was one of the schools targeted in the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. After coaching in Greece, Pitino returned to college basketball when he was hired by Iona in March.

The Hall of Fame coach has led three different programs (Louisville, Kentucky and Providence) to the Final Four. 

Jon Hale: jahale@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @JonHale_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/jonh.

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