The women’s and men’s basketball oversight committees convened again on Friday and decided to change the proposed start date for the 2020-21 season from Nov. 25 up to Nov. 21, sources told CBS Sports. The news was first reported by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.
The two-hour meeting focused in large part around upping the start date to accommodate multi-team events (MTEs), which had been a driving force the past week-plus for reconsidering Nov. 25, a date oversight committees agreed to during their Sept. 1 meeting.
Nov. 23 had also been pushed by some recently, according to numerous sources, as it’s the most populated date on the calendar wherein MTEs are scheduled to tip off. One source indicated that Nov. 21 added a couple more MTEs to the pile. On Friday it was put into the oversight committees’ proposal package to the Division I Council, which is the governing body that will meet Sept. 16 and ultimately decide whether to accept multiple recommendations surrounding the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season.
The committees also agreed on Friday to reduce the maximum allowable regular-season games for this season. It’s normally 31, but now it will be targeted at 28 if a team plays in an MTE, or 26 if it does not. The minimum allowable number of games for postseason consideration is targeted for 13, a number NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt lobbed out as a possibility Thursday on the “Courtside with Dakich and Greenberg” podcast. The stipulation for 13 games, according to one source, is all 13 games must be against Division I competition.
The committees also will make a recommendation — but not an outright requirement — that teams play at least four nonconference games if circumstances reasonably allow for it. This was not a universally agreed to recommendation, but will be part of the proposal nonetheless. The thinking behind this is to encourage every league to seek to play nonconference games in an effort to help with college basketball’s metrics and eventual NCAA Tournament selection. A separate source added that powerful programs have been consistently lobbying behind the scenes to allow for as many nonconference games as possible in an effort to normalize the regular season and also provide small schools a chance for more games in an unpredictable schedule climate.
As for crucial COVID-19 testing, the recommended protocol for NCAA Division I basketball is expected to require testing at least three times per week.
There is one potential downside to starting on Nov. 21: by starting on a Saturday, a football weekend would easily overshadow college hoops’ start. That would not have been as much the case on Monday, Nov. 23, and certainly not on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
There is no assurance college basketball season can begin in late November, but optimism still runs high throughout the sport that such a goal is achievable, especially as news updates nearly each week with improvements in testing capabilities.