September 17, 2020 

DI Council approves Nov. 25 start date for NCAA women’s basketball

College basketball is set to return the day before Thanksgiving

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Men’s and women’s college basketball will begin on Nov. 25, the NCAA Division I Council announced Wednesday. The council moved the start date back from Nov. 10 with the idea that by late November, at least three-quarters of Division I schools will have concluded their fall terms or moved remaining instruction and exams online, creating a more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the spread of COVID-19 between student-athletes and the broader student body population.

“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. “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.”

No exhibition games or closed scrimmages will be allowed before the official start of the season. Since the season will start 15 days later than originally scheduled, the maximum number of games was reduced by four.

According to the release, women’s basketball teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to four games or schedule 25 regular-season games if a team does not compete in a multiple-team event. Additionally, to be considered for NCAA championship selection, teams must play 13 games — all against Division I opponents.

Programs can begin preseason practice on Oct. 14 and will have 42 days to conduct a maximum of 30 practices before the start of the season. During this time, players are allowed to work out up to 20 hours per week, four hours per day, and must have one day off per week.

Based on the “mental and physical challenges basketball players are facing as a result of the pandemic,” council members also approved a transition practice period designed to provide additional time to prepare for the upcoming season.

The transition period will occur Sept. 21-Oct. 13, and teams may participate in strength and conditioning activities, sports-related meetings, and skill instruction for up to 12 hours a week, with an eight-hour limit on skill instruction. Players must have two days off per week during the transition period.

Written by Bela Kirpalani

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