NCAA Basketball Has a Return Date, And More

NCAA basketball will be back on November 25th.

On Wednesday, September 16th, the NCAA held a four hour meeting to discuss and decide what the college basketball landscape will look like for this years NCAA basketball season.

The NCAA pushed back the basketball start date from November 10th to November 25th, a move that I, along with many others, predicted. This start date makes sense because many schools are moving online following Thanksgiving break, so starting the day before Thanksgiving gives athletes the chance to finish up in-person classes without setbacks. Closed campuses will also provide for a bubble-like scenario for potential non-conference games. Grace Calhoun, the Athletic Director at Penn and Division 1 council chairwoman, stated that starting during the week will prevent any potential scheduling conflicts with football programs, as well as travel plans for television viewership.

While the official start date is the headlining note from this meeting, there were many other changes made to the NCAA basketball season that are also quite important.

The maximum number of games teams can play has been changed from 31 to 27, and the minimum games teams can play to be considered for the NCAA tournament has been changed from 25 to 13. This is an interesting change that doesn’t penalize schools who deal with more Covid-19 issues than others. The main idea regarding the game changes, is not to penalize schools that have problems due to Covid-19, but also not to overplay players. The goal is for each school to play two games per week, so the minor maximum change makes sense due to a 2-week shortened season.

Another big note that was approved was the civic legislation part of the meeting. All programs will have off on November 3rd, so every basketball player has the opportunity to vote. This is long overdue, and is a great sign of progression within the NCAA elites. This is the sole change that will be reoccurring. The previous changes I mentioned in this article are stapled with this season, but moving forward every year student-athletes will have Election Day off.