NCAA Council votes on college basketball start

Season will begin on November 25, with practices beginning in October

written by: JOE LAURICH, guest writer
Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer
The NCAA’s decision to push the college basketball season back to Nov. 25 means Xavier will likely play a full Big East slate this season. Each team is recommended to play at least four non-conference games.

On Wednesday, the NCAA Division One Council voted to start the basketball season on Nov. 25, a 15-day delay from the initial start date of Nov. 10th. Practices can begin on Oct. 10. 

They also recommended that teams play a minimum of four non-conference games, although this will not be required. That move was likely made to accommodate non-conference tournaments. 

Non-conference games will help evaluate schools for the NCAA Tournament selection process and help produce more accurate team metrics, such as NET. 

With the start date for the season set in stone, more clarity is provided about how teams will structure their schedule and of non-conference tournaments. 

The Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, which is traditionally held in the Bahamas, already announced that they would relocate to play at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

The dates for the tournament have yet to be announced.  Usually, the tournament is played around Thanksgiving but those dates will likely change due to the NCAA’s decision. 

Participants in the tournament this year include Duke, West Virginia, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah, Creighton and Wichita State.

Xavier’s non-conference tournament this year is the Orlando Invitational. It is scheduled to be held at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Walt Disney World, where the NBA bubble currently is. 

The Orlando Invitational was also scheduled to be held around Thanksgiving, from Thursday, Nov. 26 to Sunday, Nov. 29. 

If the tournament happens this year, Xavier will be competing against Auburn, Boise State, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Saint Louis, and Siena. 

Due to COVID-19 travel requirements, some teams would likely have to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Orlando, which could dissuade some schools from playing in the tournament. 

Teams are also looking for ways to structure their conference schedule due to the tightened window for games. 

Jeff Ensor, the commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), told Stadium’s Jeff Goodman that the league is currently looking to start conference play on Dec. 8, with league games every third day. 

That schedule would allow MAAC teams to play four to five non-conference games, while the conference schedule would also allow players adequate time to fit in the 72-hour COVID-19 testing window that will likely be required by the NCAA before games. 

One other decision that came down with the council’s vote was to extend the NCAA recruiting dead period to Jan. 1, which could impact team’s 2021 and 2022 recruiting as they won’t have as much contact with potential recruits.

Wednesday’s decision by the NCAA provides some hope that there will be Xavier basketball this year.