NCAA announces Nov. 25 start date for men's and women's basketball originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Division I Council approved a Nov. 25 start date for the men's and women's 2020-21 college basketball seasons, the NCAA announced on Wednesday.
The original start date for the season was Nov. 10, but the shift in the time period was largely due to the fact that by Nov. 25, most universities will have a smaller population on campus and therefore a lesser risk of spreading COVID-19.
"Moving the start date back from Nov. 10 is intended to have contests begin when at least three-quarters of Division I schools will have concluded their fall terms or moved remaining instruction and exams online," the Division I Men’s and Women’s Oversight Committees said. "Creating a more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19 that can occur between student-athletes and the broader student body population."
Teams will not be allowed to hold scrimmages or exhibitions before the Nov. 25 start date. Practices can begin on Oct. 14, and programs can then hold up to 30 practices within a 42-day window.
With the change in dates comes changes in the makeup of schedules for programs across the nation. On the men's side, teams will now play a maximum of 25 regular season scheduled games in conjunction with a tournament or event featuring multiple teams. If the tournament features three games, teams can only have 24 regular season contests. If it features two or less, or a team does not participate, they can play 25 games.
For the women's basketball schedule, programs can play 25 games without a tournament or 23 games a tournament with up to four games.
With the coronavirus still posing a real threat and cancellations possible, teams will only need to play 13 games to be considered for championships and postseason play.
“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”
The recruiting dead period has also been extended through Jan. 1. College coaches cannot have contact with potential recruits during that time.
Where teams will play and how traveling will work is still unclear, but with the season still months away, there will most likely be more obstacles to solve as the pandemic continues on.