SPORTS

NCAA To Provide Direction For College Basketball Season By Mid-September

Aug 17, 2020, 2:33 PM
NCAA - Basketball...
A NCAA logo is seen on the wall as Yeshiva players warmup prior to playing against Worcester Polytechnic Institute during the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship - First Round at Goldfarb Gymnasium on at Johns Hopkins University on March 6, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. On Thursday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that Maryland had confirmed three cases of residents with COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, prompting Johns Hopkins officials to host the NCAA men's basketball tournament without spectators. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – While many conferences have punted on college football to the spring, a decision will be soon be needed for the sport of college basketball.

Unlike football, basketball is run by the NCAA. So the sports governing body will need to have a plan in place to make sure the season takes place as scheduled.

NCAA hoops for both men’s and women’s begin practicing at the end of September with the opening night tentatively set for November 10th. Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt issued a statement on the NCAA’s preparations for the upcoming season on the hardwood.

As we prepare for the 2020-21 college basketball season, we have exercised patience and discipline in monitoring the effects of COVID-19 and making decisions regarding the season. We have learned a great deal over the course of the summer, and with health and safety being our priority, we have developed and studied contingency plans for alternatives to the scheduled Nov. 10 start date.

In the coming weeks, the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees will take the lead with me in a collaborative process of finalizing any recommendations for consideration by the NCAA Division I Council for the start of the college basketball season. By mid-September, we will provide direction about whether the season and practice start on time or a short-term delay is necessitated by the ongoing pandemic.

We recognize that we are living and operating in an uncertain time, and it is likely that mid-September will be just the first milestone for many important decisions pertaining to the regular season and the NCAA basketball championships. While circumstances may warrant flexibility resulting in a different and perhaps imperfect season, the ultimate goal is to safely provide student-athletes and teams with a great college basketball experience.

A mid-September timetable for direction could lead to how in-state teams such as BYU, Utah State, Utah Valley, Weber State, and Southern Utah can proceed with practices and maybe paint a picture as to when the season will start.

Last season, the NCAA canceled its March Madness tournament due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Now more than five months later, COVID-19 is still creating unique challenges for college basketball.

There are two conferences that we know will not be starting the 2020-21 season on November 10th. That’s the Pac-12 and Ivy League. Both of those conferences have postponed all athletic competitions till January 1st at the earliest.

College basketball programs around the country since July 20th have been participating in summer practices and virtual meetings for up to eight hours per week. That eight hours of preparation during the summer concludes on September 15th, which coincides with the NCAA’s mid-September timetable.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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