New Orleans, Louisiana 2020-09-16 19:30:00 –
Division I men’s and women’s basketball games will begin Nov. 25, and schools can play fewer games in order to reach postseason consideration because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA announced Wednesday.
The Division I Council approved moving the start date for the 2020-2021 season back from Nov. 10 in an effort to play games once the majority of Division I schools have either finished their fall semesters or moved classes and exams online. Exhibition games and closed scrimmages aren’t allowed before Nov. 25.
The Division I men’s and women’s oversight committees believe the structure will create a more controlled environment because less people on campus at the start of the season will reduce the risk of coronavirus exposure between athletes and the student body. The committees indicated they won’t likely approve waivers allowing schools to play games before Nov. 25.
“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.
The NCAA also reduced the maximum number of games teams can play because of the delayed start to the season. Women’s teams can schedule 23 regular season games and play a tournament with up to four more games or 25 regular season games without an event.
Men’s teams can schedule 24 regular season games and participate in one tournament with three additional games, 25 regular season games and one event with two more games or 25 regular season games without an additional event.
In order to reach NCAA tournament consideration, teams must play 13 games, a 50% reduction of current minimums. Teams must play all 13 of those games against Division I opponents. The committees recommended a minimum of four nonconference games.
Teams can begin practice Oct. 14, the NCAA said, giving them 42 days to conduct 30 practices before the first game. Teams have 20 hours per week of practice, and they must give one day off per week, a model that gives additional flexibility within the schedule.
Before preseason practice, players will enter a transition period from Sept. 21-Oct. 3, allowing them to participate in strength and conditioning, team meetings and 12 hours per week of instruction. Players must receive two days off per week during the transition.