Back in March when every conference tournament was cancelled, which was followed by the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, nobody probably thought that the 2020-21 wouldn’t start on time. Well as we near September, the beginning of the season is still unclear as the COVID-19 pandemic is still running rampant in the United States. We’ve already seen the worries about playing football during this unprecedented time, cause the Pac-12 and Big 10 to push their football seasons to the spring, while the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are all moving forward with a different schedule model. With the beginning of practice supposed to start next month, here are the four potential options that the NCAA is considering for the upcoming season:
Practice would start on time, September 29th, with the season tipping off on November 10th.
Practice would start on October 9th, with the start of the season being November 20th.
Practice would start on October 14, and the season would officially start December 4th.
The final option is starting practice on October 24th, with the season getting underway on December 14th.
There are still many questions that would need to be answered whether the season starts on time, or is delayed. How many non-conference games will schools play? What will the criteria be for the NCAA Tournament? There’s even a possibility for the NCAA Tournament to be delayed until March, so that they can set up a bubble-like environment, which the NBA and NHL have proven to work almost flawlessly. This Thursday, commissioners of Division 1 conferences will hold a meeting to discuss the basketball season, as will the NABC. In addition to those meetings being held, there will be a meeting involving men’s basketball oversight committee on August 31st to discuss the models of play that committee is considering. The hope is to have a model decided on by the first week of September, with a vote on the 16th of September to hopefully decide how the season will unfold. There is also a tentative meeting scheduled for October 13th/14th if the NCAA decides to start the season on time, and ongoing developments could bring on a delay in play.
There are a lot of different options on the table for the NCAA to consider. As leadership of the NCAA has long been questioned, this isn’t a decision to be made lightly, diligence is expected and necessary when deciding how to handle having non paid athletes play during a national crisis. One thing is clear, the NCAA is committed to playing basketball this winter, and while it may look different than in recent memory, we can all agree on wanting to see basketball be played this year.