NCAA evaluates 4 Potential Start Dates for College Basketball season

Following a disjointed and clumsy start to the 2020 college football season, men’s and women’s basketball are looking for a safe-ish, effective way to start their seasons. Of course, nothing is simple in the times of COVID-19; however, the NCAA is looking into several contingency plans for the potential start of the 2020-21 seasons.

Most of these plans involve some delay to the start of the season, too. Currently, practices are scheduled to start the week of Sept. 29 — with the first games on Nov. 10. It seems likely, thought, that this will be delayed.

According to a report from Matt Norlander at CBS Sports, the NCAA is considering four potential options for starting the season. These are from document sent to conference commissioners last week.


Option 1: No Change

    • First practices: Sept. 29
    • Start of season: Nov. 10 (Original start dates)


Option 2: 10-day delay

    • First practices: Oct. 9
    • Start of season: Nov. 20


Option 3: Thanksgiving

    • First practices: Oct. 14
    • Start of season: Nov. 25
      • The Wednesday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 26)
      • In theory, this would allow teams to isolate more deeply on campus when non-athletes leave at the end of the semester, creating a de facto bubble — assuming students are actually on campus for that long


Option 4: One-month delay

    • First practices: Oct. 24
    • Start of season: Dec. 4


Going Forward: College Basketball Start Dates

Earlier this week, Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes mentioned four different scenarios that have come up in conference calls with the 14 other ACC men’s basketball coaches. The hypothetical dates Forbes brought up are very similar to NCAA models.

According to Norlander, various NCAA committees will come to terms with a preferred calendar for the season, which will be put to a vote with the Division I Council to vote on Sept. 16.

This, too, fits with the timeline that Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, outlined two weeks ago.

A key to all of this will be testing standards and procedures. Advancements in testing are a critical function. Strides have been made, and increased testing procedures — cost-effective antigen testing with a short response time — offer some hope for college hoops.


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