With the official start of the college basketball season just over a week away, several of New York’s 22 Division I men’s basketball programs are dealing with problems related to COVID-19 cases within their teams or institutions as a whole. The latest came Sunday night, when Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and Syracuse temporarily suspended it’s men’s basketball team practices.
“As part of our routine COVID-19 health and safety protocols, I, along with my team and staff, are tested for COVID-19 multiple times each week,” Boeheim wrote in a statement. “Following our most recent testing, I was informed that I had tested positive for COVID-19. I immediately began my isolation period at home. I am not experiencing any symptoms at this time, and will continue to monitor my health closely as advised by the medical staff.”
According to an article published on Syracuse.com last Tuesday, Nov. 10, prior to Boeheim’s positive test result, Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey confirmed that BU will face the Syracuse Orange this season. It is unknown whether Boeheim’s current situation will affect the status of that matchup, and neither school has finalized its nonconference schedule as of yet.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, including the Orange, the men’s basketball activities of seven programs in New York are suspended — Albany, Canisius, Iona, Niagara, Marist, Siena and Syracuse. Six of the seven are located in upstate New York, where Binghamton is one of five programs to be continuing operations, along with Army, Buffalo, Colgate and St. Bonaventure.
The 12th upstate New York team is Cornell, which saw its season canceled on Thursday, Nov. 12, when the Ivy League announced that its eight institutions would not compete in winter sports this season.
Elsewhere in the Northeast, UConn, Seton Hall, Sacred Heart, Rider and UMass Lowell are all on pause at the moment as well, per Rothstein.
One conference has been hit particularly hard: the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Iona, Canisius, Niagara, Marist, Siena and Rider, five of the MAAC’s 11 members, are currently shut down.
In the midst of his team’s shutdown, newly hired Iona head coach Rick Pitino has been vocal on Twitter this week about his concerns for the upcoming season.
“Save the Season,” Pitino tweeted on Saturday. “Move the start back. Play league schedule and have May Madness. Spiking and protocols make it impossible to play right now.”
He also advocated for an open NCAA tournament with every Division I school competing, a proposal that was made by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and rejected by the NCAA earlier this semester.
Albany and UMass Lowell are the only America East (AE) schools with programs currently on hold, and Rothstein also reported that UMass Lowell will be returning to practice on Thursday.
With several of BU’s traditional upstate New York programs on pause, the Ivy League not competing at all this season and the Patriot League not playing nonconference games, the potential opponents for Binghamton’s nonconference matchups appear to be limited.