The NCAA Division I council has voted to start the 2020-21 basketball season Nov. 25. The decision was announced on Sept. 17 after the women’s and men’s basketball oversight committees originally proposed a date of Nov. 21.
With an estimated 75% of college campuses having their students off campus, the decision was difficult for Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president of basketball, as he discussed in an interview with the NCAA.
The choice does force some changes within the usual NCAA scheduling system. For example the famed Maui Invitational Tournament, originally scheduled for Nov. 23-25, will have to be rescheduled to a later date. Additionally, the maximum number of games allowed has now been decreased to 25 for men and 23 for women.
Full-scaled practices are allowed to start on Oct. 14. This 42-day window allows for 30 practices at most to be conducted before the start of the season. Exhibitions and scrimmages before Nov. 25 will not be allowed.
COVID-19 testing regulations have not been nailed down thus far and will be determined within the next few weeks, according to statements made by Gavitt to NCAA.
Gavitt also explained to Andy Katz of NCAA how the circumstances surrounding coronavirus could push the date back again if conditions worsen.
The silver lining here is that with all of the doubt surrounding college sports, fans will get their dose of college basketball — even if it does come with a COVID-19 caveat.