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NCAA sets start date for college basketball season for Nov. 25


Then-sophomore guard Rob Phinisee attempts a layup March 11 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The NCAA announced Wednesday that college Division I basketball will start Nov. 25. Anna Tiplick

The NCAA Division I Council approved Nov. 25 as the start date for the 2020-21 season on Wednesday for both men’s and women’s basketball. 

The Men's and Women's Oversight Committees said in a statement, the decision to move the start date back from Nov. 10 was made because at least three-quarters of Division I schools will have either completed their fall terms or moved instruction online. With fewer students on campus, there is a reduced risk of COVID-19 spreading between student-athletes and the general study body population.

No exhibition games or closed scrimmages will be allowed before the Nov. 25 start date. Programs can begin preseason practice on Oct. 14 and will have 42 days to conduct a maximum of 30 practices in which student-athletes can work out up to 20 hours per week.

Men’s basketball teams will be allowed to schedule 24 regular-season games and participate in one multi-team tournament that can include a maximum of three games. Women’s basketball teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and play in one multi-team tournament that includes up to four games. 

The council also approved a transition practice period from Sept. 21 to Oct. 13 between the current NCAA out-of-season team activities and preseason practices. The period is designed to provide additional time for players and teams to prepare for the upcoming season. During the transition, teams will be allowed to participate in strength and conditioning activities, sports-related meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours a week, according to the release. 

“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “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.”

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