The NCAA’s women’s basketball oversight committee and men’s basketball oversight committee jointly agreed on Tuesday to propose Nov. 25 as the start date for the 2020-21 college basketball season, sources told CBS Sports.
Nov. 25 is the day before Thanksgiving.
“It was a hard proposal and they all left [the call] saying the 25th was the date they’re going to take,” one source said.
The proposal will eventually be sent to the Division I Council, which is scheduled to meet on Sept. 16. An approving vote by the Council on that day would make Nov. 25 college basketball’s new official opening day, but sources have stressed that flexibility in the coming 6-8 weeks will be paramount. If the environment in the United States and college athletics changes for the worse in regard to the coronavirus pandemic, men’s and women’s basketball will have their season starts delayed as necessary.
In the wake of CBS Sports initially reporting the four start dates up for discussion, Nov. 25 had been presumed to be the favorite for more than a week. Sources said that some people on Tuesday’s conference call unsuccessfully lobbied to keep the schedule as is, pushing for a Nov. 10 start date, which has been the goal for many college administrators.
Sources added that the Pac-12 has communicated that a Dec. 4 start date would be its first preference, providing an indication the league is moving closer to reversing its Aug. 11 decision to prohibit basketball until January — CBS Sports reported that news on Aug. 27. One source said if Nov. 25 was to be the date, the Pac-12 “could probably work with that.”
Much of the debate from Tuesday’s call didn’t center around a start date, but rather the amount of allowable practice and in-person workout hours that would be permissible before the preseason officially begins. If college basketball is to start on Nov. 25, that would mean preseason practices could start as early as 42 days prior: Oct. 14. Those details are expected to be hashed out soon. The situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that many schools around the country still aren’t allowed to have their players in their athletic facilities.
The next issue to tackle, according to two sources, is the topic of game minimums and game maximums allowable for the 2020-21 season. It’s a thorny subject because it’s yet to be determined if the college basketball season will begin with every conference going to in-league play only, or if the sport will start as usual with nonconference matchups making up the spread of the schedule. The timeline on those decisions remains unclear, but sources previously told CBS Sports that September into early October will go a long way to dictating under what circumstances and template college basketball’s 2020-21 season could begin.
As far as game minimums, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt told CBS Sports in July that the men’s basketball selection committee would be willing to amend a rule for 2020-21 in terms of automatic bids. Whatever or however a conference decides to determine its champion and automatic bid recipient — regardless of conference tournament allowability or game inventory — the committee would accept that given the circumstances for an unprecedented forthcoming season.