Rick Pitino's first practice on hold at Iona College due to COVID outbreak

Josh Thomson
Rockland/Westchester Journal News
Rick Pitino and Iona College will have to wait for the start of the college basketball season after the school's COVID-19 outbreak.

With the rest of the college basketball world tipping off on Wednesday, Rick Pitino and Iona College remained sidelined.

According to a spokesperson for the college, all athletics are on hold "until further notice" in the wake of a superspreader event that has now resulted in 74 new cases of COVID-19 and pushed all classes online for at least two weeks.

The men's and women's basketball teams were among those scheduled to hold practice Wednesday, the first day official team workouts are permitted by the NCAA.

Pitino, who was hired in March, wasn't on campus for several months due to COVID protocols, but the Hall of Fame coach has been in New Rochelle for offseason activities since the summer.

NEWS: Superspreader event led to COVID-19 outbreak at Iona College

The recent outbreak on campus was sparked by a single event attended by student athletes, according to the college, and almost all of the positive cases involved athletes on eight different teams. The extent of the basketball team's involvement was not disclosed.

Students who caught the virus or were in close contact with someone who did must isolate or quarantine for 14 days and online classes will run until at least Oct. 26.

Students enter campus at Iona College in New Rochelle Aug. 13, 2020. The college has been in remote learning for one week and on Monday, Aug. 17 begins in-person classes.

The men's basketball team is scheduled for Pitino's debut on Nov. 25 at Fordham University. The Gaels are expected to play in a multi-team event at Mohegan Sun from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Vermont and Buffalo are currently in the field, although the possible addition of a fourth team and other details have yet to be finalized.

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Iona, Rick Pitino to open season at Fordham

Iona is also expected to play an additional non-conference game, likely at the Hynes Center after returning home from Mohegan Sun. That is also not finalized and will be against an opponent to be determined.

Josh Thomson is the Local Sports Editor for The Journal News and Poughkeepsie Journal. He can be reached by e-mail at jthomson@lohud.com, on Twitter at @lohudinsider, and on Instagram at @lohudinsider.