Men’s and women’s basketball are expected to hit the court Nov. 25, the NCAA Division I Council announced Wednesday.
The 2020-21 season, originally set to begin Nov. 10, will now start the day before Thanksgiving due to COVID-19 concerns. No exhibition games or scrimmages will take place, and teams will now be capped at 25 regular season contests with the option to add multi-team events, the release states.
The release added that at least 75 percent of Division I schools will conclude their fall semester or move online by the new start date to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 between student-athletes and the school community. GW opted to spend the fall semester online, and about 500 students – including some student-athletes – are living on campus.
“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing toward the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”
To meet sponsorship requirements, teams will need to compete in a minimum of 13 games – half of which must be played against Division I opponents. Teams are encouraged to play at least four nonconference games, the release states.
The Colonials can begin pre-season practice, which would include up to 20 hours of workouts per week, Oct. 14. The squad will have 42 days to complete a maximum of 30 practices, the release states.
Between Sept. 21 and Oct. 13, student-athletes are allowed to participate in strength and conditioning and sport-related meetings for up to 12 hours per week. They can spend at most eight hours a week in skill instruction, according to the release.
“This transition period is designed to provide additional time for players to prepare for the upcoming season based on the mental and physical challenges basketball players are facing as a result of the pandemic,” the release states.
By Nov. 25 last season, the men’s squad had seven games under its belt and the women’s team played in six games. A waiver process does exist for teams to begin the season prior to Nov. 25, but the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee would be unlikely to support a waiver, the release states.