The NCAA Division 1 Council voted Wednesday to start the 2020-2021 college basketball season on Nov. 25. This new start date will fall two weeks later than the initial start date of Nov. 10.
Source: The official start date of the 20-21 college basketball season will be November 25h.
Decision is in.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 16, 2020
The start date falls a day before Thanksgiving. The movement to Nov. 25 is due in part to an estimated three-quarters of Division 1 schools concluding their fall terms or moving remaining classes fully online by then. This has the potential to allow for a less crowded and safer campus for those schools.
Men’s Basketball Schedule
For the men’s basketball season, the Council reduced the maximum number of required regular-season games by 4 to accommodate for the later start date.
Now, teams can schedule 24 or 25 regular-season games and a multi-team event (MTE). As a point of reference, the minimum for last season was 25 games.
The Council also recommended teams play a minimum of four non-conference games.
A number of these multi-team events were scheduled to begin between Nov. 19 and Nov. 25, including the Battle 4 Atlantis and the Maui Invitational. The new start date will force those events to reschedule.
Noted college basketball MTEs initially slated to begin between 11/19 and 11/25:
Myrtle Beach Invitational
Battle 4 Atlantis
Cayman Island Classic
Fort Myers Tip-Off
HOF Classic (KC)
MGM Resorts Main Event
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 12, 2020
On top of that, the new minimum number of games required for NCAA Tournament eligibility is 13 against other Division 1 teams. This number is half of the current minimum.
Women’s Basketball Schedule
The Council decided that women’s teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and a multi-team event. If they choose not to schedule an MTE, they can schedule 25 games.
Practice Leading up to the Season
According to the NCAA, preseason practices can start Oct. 14, allowing teams 42 days to hold a maximum of 30 practices. However, no exhibition games or closed scrimmages will be allowed before the start of the regular season.
Council members allowed for a transition practice period to occur Sept. 21-Oct. 13. This period will bridge the gap between out-of-season activities and preseason practice. During this period, teams can engage in strength and conditioning, sport-related meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours a week.