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The 2020-21 college basketball season will start Nov. 25, NCAA announces

NCAA also announced Wednesday the FCS playoff schedule

SHARE The 2020-21 college basketball season will start Nov. 25, NCAA announces
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AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

SALT LAKE CITY — The upcoming college basketball season has a start date: Nov. 25.

After multiple national media outlets reported the opening day that men’s and women’s basketball can be played in the upcoming season, the NCAA made it official following a meeting of the Division I Council on Wednesday.

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

The NCAA outlined several details about the upcoming basketball season, as the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • There will be no exhibition games or closed scrimmages allowed prior to Nov. 25. “Moving the start date back from Nov. 10 is intended to have contests begin when 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 risk of COVID-19 that can occur between student-athletes and the broader student body population,” the NCAA’s announcement read.
  • The maximum number of contests for schools was reduced by four, capping the number of regular-season games at 27 for both men’s and women’s basketball with stipulations based on if teams participate in multiple-team events.
  • Teams must play 13 games — all against Division I competition — to be considered for NCAA championship consideration. That’s a 50% reduction of the current minimum. Both the men’s and women’s D-I basketball committees suggested teams play a minimum of four nonconference games.
  • Practices can begin on Oct. 14, six weeks prior to the first day teams can play games. Teams are allowed a maximum of 30 practices, and players may work out up to 20 hours per week, as well as four hours per day, and must have one day off each week.

Spring FCS playoff dates set

In addition to the basketball news, the NCAA announced a revised schedule for its Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, with the majority of schools at the FCS level planning to play in the spring.

The FCS championship will take place from April 18 to May 15, and the field will be reduced from 24 to 16 teams. Since several FCS schools also have games scheduled in the fall, “fall competitions will be considered when determining the field for the spring championship,” the NCAA said.

In addition, the scheduling model will allow for up to eight regular-season games to happen over a period of no more than 13 weeks in the spring.

Teams may conduct on-field practice beginning Sept. 21, and running through Dec. 31, schools will be allowed 12 hours per week — a maximum of four hours per day — of “countable athletics activity.” Schools can also start their preseason or regular season during this time period.