Because ‘hope is a good thing,’ Jon Rothstein keeps counting down to a season that may not arrive on time

Because ‘hope is a good thing,’ Jon Rothstein keeps counting down to a season that may not arrive on time

At 7:05 a.m. May 18, before many of us had made it to their first cup of coffee, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was lucid enough to tweet this: “Only 176 days until the 2020-21 college basketball seasons officially begins … #countdown.”

Among the responses that arrived to that declaration was one from a Gil Sklash that simply asked, “You sure about that?”

Six weeks later, with cases of COVID-19 escalating again, Sporting News felt compelled to ask a similar question: Why are you bothering?

“I made myself a promise a long time ago that has helped me in situations like this: I don’t speculate on speculation,” Rothstein told Sporting News. “When there is a change in the college basketball calendar, I will adjust the countdown and we will go from there.

“I’m a movie buff, and I remember the letter in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ that was from Andy Dufresne to Red: Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. We need hope in our society that we’re all going to have a release in our society through sport.”

DECOURCY: MSU celebrates Emoni Bates commitment — but a long engagement could be ahead

Rothstein — as in love with the sport of college basketball as anyone, anywhere is in love with any sport — has, for years, been doing his daily countdown of the time remaining until opening day. There never was any reason to doubt its veracity.

Thursday morning, his countdown tweeted again. It’s now 131 days until Nov. 10, when the Champions Classic is set to occur at the United Center in Chicago, with Duke to face Michigan State and Kentucky meeting Kansas.

Is it, though? When it was 132 days away, on Wednesday, new Iona coach Rick Pitino suggested delaying the college basketball season until January. With positive tests for coronavirus spiking in Florida and Arizona, among other states, and with the United States continuing to struggle to cope with the disease in ways that haven’t been an issue in the European Union or many of Asia’s biggest countries, it seems almost fantastic to expect the college basketball season will proceed as scheduled.

Rothstein believes college basketball will return at some point. “From a financial aspect, there’s a lot riding on playing a season,” he said.

Rothstein usually begins his daily countdown on the day after the NBA Draft, typically late June. It began well in advance of that date this year, in part because it didn’t hurt to display a little belief on the heels of losing 2020’s scheduled edition of March Madness.

DECOURCY: Cunningham’s commitment means it’s time for the NCAA to correct OK State injustice

Living in New York City is one reason Rothstein holds out hope for college basketball in 2020-21. He has seen it recover from what felt like an apocalypse. There still are no Broadway shows, and indoor dining at restaurants is not yet allowed, but New Yorkers are moving around and eating some outdoors and seeing the disease numbers stay low.

“And now because people have social distanced and worn masks, we’ve had some sense of normalcy return,” Rothstein said. “You can be in a situation where you can socialize, but you’re not shoulder-to-shoulder.

“I’m an optimist. I think if everyone around the country would do what New York did for the next two months, we could have an incredible turnaround by Labor Day. I’ve seen it here in New York, from where we were in March and April to where we are now. There’s much more optimism.”

Published at Thu, 02 Jul 2020 17:21:30 +0000

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: