The NCAA’s men’s and women’s basketball season begins November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving.
Department I Council voted Wednesday to move the start date from the originally planned November 10th as one of several precautionary measures against the spread of the coronavirus.
The later start date coincides with the decision most schools have made to send students home from Thanksgiving through January, amid concerns over a possible COVID-19 flare-up in late fall and early winter. Closed locations could act as a bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.
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“The fact that our sites are being cleared will allow us to just further control the exposures and the 25th gives us that opportunity,”
The basketball supervisory committees for men and women jointly recommended a start date for November 21, a Saturday. Calhoun said the city council wanted to avoid a weekend start date as basketball and soccer games might overlap on campus.
The maximum number of games in the regular season has been reduced from 31 to 27.
“The basic principle was that the teams play an average of two games a week during the season. The fact that we are shortening the season by two weeks made it necessary to reduce the number of games so that we are not counterproductive and try to play more a shortened season, ”said Calhoun.
The minimum number of games to be considered for the NCAA tournament has been reduced from 25 to 13. Calhoun said the low minimum is a confirmation that schools are likely to have different COVID-19 cases and need to change their schedules.
“We expect there will be some problems over the course of the season, similar to what we’ve seen in football, so we want the institutions to be flexible about their playing times,” she said.
Teams can start pre-season training on October 14th. From Monday, the teams can take part in strength and fitness meetings as well as sport-related meetings and skill instructions for up to 12 hours per week. The skill lessons are limited to eight hours.
Fighting against other teams or exhibitions is not allowed. It was also recommended that each team play at least four non-conference games.
The council is expected to meet again October 13-14 and could postpone the start date and change other parts of the basketball framework if the virus’ circumstances warrant.
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The council also voted to extend the recruitment deadline for all sports to January 1. Personal recruitment is prohibited during a dead time, although phone calls and other correspondence are permitted.
The Act on Civic Engagement was also approved. Practice, competitions, and other countable sporting activities are prohibited on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each year, including this year’s Election Day on November 3rd.
Division I’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee proposed legislation to allow one day each year to allow athletes to participate in activities such as voting or charitable activities.