The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season begins on November 25, the day before Thanksgiving.
The Division I committee decided on Wednesday to revert the start date from November 10, originally scheduled as one of several precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.
The late start date is consistent with the decision of most schools to send students home from Thanksgiving through January due to concerns about a potential late fall and early winter recurrence of COVID-19. A closed campus can serve as a given bubble to players and can provide a window for non-meeting games.
Grace Calhoun, Director of Physical Education at Penn, Chair of the Division I Committee, said, “It will be possible for our campus to become clear and further control of exposure, and the 25th will give us that opportunity.
The men’s and women’s basketball supervisory committee jointly recommended a start date, which is Saturday, November 21st. Calhoun said the committee wants to avoid weekend start dates because there is a potential for basketball and football matches on campus.
The maximum number of games in the regular season has been reduced from 31 to 27.
“The reason is that teams tended to play an average of two games a week during the season, so the fact that they cut the season by two weeks was a short season rather than counterproductive because it required a reduction in the game,” Calhoun said.
The minimum number of games to consider for an NCAA tournament has been reduced from 25 to 13. Calhoun said the minimum is to admit that schools are experiencing different levels of COVID-19 cases and have to reschedule.
“We fully anticipate that there will be some problems as we progress through the season, as we have seen in football, so we want the agency to have the flexibility to organize the season,” she said.
Teams can start pre-season practice on October 14th. Starting on Monday, teams can participate in strength and conditioning and sports related meetings and technical training for up to 12 hours per week, and there is an 8 hour limit for technical training.
No scrims for other teams or exhibitions are allowed. It is also recommended that each team play at least 4 non-conference games.
The council will meet again from October 13th to 14th, and if the circumstances surrounding the virus are justified, we may postpone the start date and change other parts of the basketball framework.
The committee also decided to extend the recruitment deadline for all sports until January 1. Telephone and other communications are permitted, but direct recruitment is prohibited during the deadline.
The citizen participation bill was also approved. Practice, competition, and other countable athletic-related activities are banned on Tuesdays after the first Monday of November each year, including Election Day, November 3 of this year.
The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Board has proposed a bill that gives athletes one day each year to increase their chances of participating in activities such as voting or community service.