Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

College Basketball Season to Begin Nov. 25

September 21, 2020

We have a start date for college basketball.

The NCAA Division I Council voted on Wednesday to make Nov. 25 the official start date for the 2020-21 season, according to a report from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.

The NCAA confirmed the start date for both men’s and women’s basketball on Wednesday evening. Practice will begin Oct. 14 and teams will have 42 days to complete a maximum of 30 practices before the season. The season was originally scheduled to tip off Nov. 10 with practice starting on Sept. 29.

The council also approved a transition practice period that will begin on Sept. 21 and run through Oct. 13. Student-athletes will be allowed to take part in strength and conditioning, team activites and skill instruction for up to 12 hours per week with a cap of eight hours on the skill work. The period also includes a mandatory two days off per week.

The men’s team was scheduled to play an exhibition game against Peru State on Nov. 2 and its season opener against Cleveland State was slated for Nov. 10. On Tuesday, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported that Nebraska’s nonconference multi-team event, the Myrtle Beach Invitational, was one of eight MTEs that will take place in a closed campus environment in Orlando this year.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have altered their academic calendars to end their semesters prior to Thanksgiving to reduce the amount of traveling from campus to home and back students will do during the year. Pushing the season back will allow teams to play games during a window between semesters where many campuses are mostly empty.

“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 in the NCAA’s 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.”

The council also lowered the maximum regular season game total from 31 (including an MTE) to 27 and set the minimum for postseason eligibility at 13. Preseason exhibitions and scrimmages will be prohibited this season and the council issued a recommendation for a minimum of four nonconference games.

In addition to the schedule-related matters, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period through the end of 2020, prohibiting programs from hosting visitors including providing complimentary game tickets to prospective recruits.

It also passed a rule prohibiting “countable athletically related activities” on the first Tuesday after November 1 — federal election day.

During his most recent appearance on Sports Nightly, Coach Fred Hoiberg voiced his support for a late November start date and shared details of how Nebraska has handled bringing it’s players back to campus and ramping up offseason workouts.

The next step will be for conferences and teams to put together schedules that fit into the framework the council established during Wednesday’s meeting.

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