NCAA intends to start men’s college basketball season on Nov. 25

College basketball fans can get ready for Thanksgiving with a helping of hoops.

According to multiple reports, the NCAA Division One Council has approved Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, as the opening date for the 2020-21 men’s and women’s college basketball seasons.

The men’s season was originally scheduled to start on Nov. 10.  Indiana was going to play on NJIT on that date.

A later start date allows more games to be played when the general student bodies are away from campuses.

According to the NCAA’s Dan Gavitt, 76 percent of all Division-I schools (including Indiana) will have either finished their fall semester completely or released the general student body from in-person instruction by Nov 25.

The start of practice will be six weeks prior to the initial start date — on Oct. 14th, according to Jeff Goodman.

CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander is reporting via sources several additional details related to men’s college basketball:

  • The NCAA has voted to keep recruiting visits dead/banned until Jan. 1.
  • No scrimmages or exhibitions will be played this season.
  • Regular-season game capacity has been reduced by four games (from 31 to 27).
  • Teams can start practicing as much as 12 hours per week (8 on the court) starting Sept. 21.

Indiana was scheduled to play at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 23.  Recent reports have indicated that event will be held on the mainland, in either Indianapolis, Ind. or Asheville, N.C.

Games against Butler at the Crossroads Classic, Nebraska-Omaha and Robert Morris were also part of the original schedule.

Indiana head coach Archie Miller suggested that a full round-robin style Big Ten season was a possibility for 2020-21.  But with a 27 game cap and the three-game Maui event likely to continue, an abbreviated Big Ten slate now appears to be on tap.

The NCAA later confirmed the news and issued the following release:

DI Council approves Nov. 25 start date for men’s and women’s basketball

Full practices can begin Oct. 14

The Division I Council approved moving the first contest date in Division I men’s and women’s basketball to Nov. 25 for the 2020-21 season.

No exhibition games or closed scrimmages will be allowed before that date. Moving the start date back from Nov. 10 is intended to have contests begin when at least three-quarters of Division I schools will have concluded their fall terms or moved remaining instruction and exams online, creating a more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19 that can occur between student-athletes and the broader student body population, the Division I Men’s and Women’s Oversight Committees said.

The maximum number of contests was reduced by four, given that the season will start 15 days later than originally scheduled. In men’s basketball, teams can schedule 24 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to three games; 25 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to two games; or 25 regular-season games if a team does not participate in a multiple-team event.

In women’s basketball, teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to four games or schedule 25 regular-season games if a team does not compete in a multiple-team event.

Teams will meet sport sponsorship requirements and be considered for NCAA championship selection if they play 13 games, which represents a 50 percent reduction of the current minimum. For NCAA championship consideration, all 13 games must be against another Division I opponent. The Division I Men’s Basketball and Division I Women’s Basketball committees also recommended teams play a minimum of four nonconference games.

“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” said NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt. “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.”

Programs can begin preseason practice on Oct. 14 and will have 42 days to conduct a maximum of 30 practices. During this time, players can work out up to 20 hours per week, four hours per day, and must have one day off per week. This model is generally consistent with the normal preseason practice period but permits additional flexibility for all teams to begin full practice on Oct. 14, regardless of when their first scheduled game occurs.

Council members also approved a transition practice period between current out-of-season activities and preseason practice. This transition period is designed to provide additional time for players to prepare for the upcoming season based on the mental and physical challenges basketball players are facing as a result of the pandemic. The transition period will occur Sept. 21-Oct. 13, and teams may participate in strength and conditioning activities, sport-related meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours a week, with an eight-hour limit on skill instruction. Players must have two days off per week during the transition period.

While the waiver process exists for schools to request to play games prior to the Nov. 25 start date, the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee have indicated they are unlikely to support such waivers.

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