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NCAA announces college basketball season to start on Nov. 25

The NCAA will delay the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season by a little over two weeks.

Dan Hurley
UConn head coach Dan Hurley during a game in November. The NCAA reportedly decided that the college basketball season would start on Nov. 25. (Ian Bethune - The UConn Blog)
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After months of uncertainty, the NCAA has officially decided that the 2020-21 college basketball season will start on Nov. 25. The season was due to start on Nov. 10, the NCAA said in its release.

“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 the release. “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.”

CBS’ Jon Rothstein initially reported the news, with other pieces coming from Matt Norlander of CBS, Jeff Goodman and Andy Katz.

The NCAA has also decided that the regular season will be shortened by four games, there will be no scrimmages or exhibitions this season and all recruiting visits will be banned until Jan. 1, according to Norlander.

The maximum games played for programs will be 27, according to Jeff Goodman, which means that the NCAA is leaving the door open for schools to play some non-conference games.

The NCAA’s announcement further clarified that men’s basketball teams could schedule their regular season in three different ways: 24 games and up to three games of a multi-team event, 25 games and a up to two games of a multi-teamer or 25 games and no multi-teamer.

Women’s basketball programs can create their schedules with either 23 games and up to four games of a multi-team event or just 25 games with no multi-team event.

In order to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, schools must play a minimum of 13 games against Division I competition.

Teams can begin to practices on Oct. 14, just four weeks away, and can conduct up to 30 practices before the start of the season.

The NCAA has also established a transition period, spanning from Sept. 21 to Oct. 13. During this period teams can begin practicing “as much as 12 hours per week” with up to eight hours of skill work. Players must also be given two days off per week.

It is still unclear where and who schools will play, but at least there is now an established time frame for schedules to be played. There has been chatter about different bubble scenarios, but nothing concrete.

UConn head coach Dan Hurley said in his press conference on Sept. 4 that he thought the bubble scenario would be the “most likely” way for the season to take place.

Hurley also weighed in on the news with a tweet of his own.

The Nov. 25 start date would be after at least “three-quarters” of Division I schools have completed their semesters or transitioned to online learning, the Division I Men’s and Women’s Oversight Committees said according to the release.

UConn moves from in-person to online at the start of Thanksgiving break, which begins on Nov. 22. Students will not be returning to campus following the break.

The NCAA is also disallowing any “countable” athletic activity on Election Day, according to Inside the NCAA. This allows athletes and coaches to vote without having to worry about their athletic requirements for the day. It was first publicly suggested by Eric Reveno, an associate basketball coach at Virginia Tech.

The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee first proposed the legislation.

“I support the decision,” Olivia Sappington, UConn’s SAAC chapter President and UConn softball player said. “Our main initiative this fall is civic engagement and voting. This is the right move by the NCAA.”