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College Basketball Season Will Start November 25

The NCAA Division I Council voted today to delay the men’s and women’s basketball season start date until Nov. 25, and is still subject to further delays pending COVID-19 developments.

2019 Maui Invitational - Virginia Tech v Michigan State Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

The NCAA Division I Council met today and voted to begin the men’s and women’s college basketball season on Nov. 25. Practices can start as early as Oct. 14. While the start date is “official,” it is not guaranteed that circumstances involving coronavirus may not cause further delay to the season start date.

There was no immediate word on potential changes to the number of games allowed, or specific protocols. The Big Ten said in its statement regarding the newly announced October start date for college football that the conference would be releasing their own protocols and plans for the men’s and women’s basketball seasons at a later date. Specifically, it stated:

“Eventually all Big Ten sports will require testing protocols before they can resume competition. Updates regarding fall sports other than football, as well as winter sports that begin in the fall including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and wrestling, will be announced shortly.”

There are a number of changes that will result to the not yet fully announced Michigan State Spartans hoops schedule. The Champions Classic and Orlando Invitational dates are likely to be affected, as will potentially the Gavitt Games and ACC-Big Ten tournament. Also still pending is the Big Ten conference schedule.

The NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt stated on Aug. 17. that the NCAA Division I Council would vote by mid-September on a decision to continue with the existing basketball schedule for the men’s and women’s 2020-21 season with an official season start date of Nov. 10th.

This news followed with speculation on potential changes to the season ranging from a Thanksgiving start through early January with a conference-only season, a Thanksgiving start through early January with non-conference games, a Thanksgiving start through early March, a January start with a conference-only season, or a January start with limited non-conference games included. CBS initially reported that the oversight committees would recommend a November 25th start date, but today stated it was instead recommended the season begin November 21st. The Division I Council chose to overrule the recommendation for a November 25th start date.

The Pac-12 also was rumored to be reconsidering its Jan. 1, 2021 delay if a December or late November start was chosen. With the Nov. 25 start date selected it will be worth seeing what changes, if any, come from the power-six conference for early season non-conference games and tournaments.