When the Pac-12 announced on August 11 that it was cancelling the fall sports season (while potentially postponing the football season), it also threw a massive wrench into the upcoming college basketball season.
Part of the Pac-12's announcement was regarding more than just the fall sports season, as it was cancelling ALL sports activities for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year.
“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”
Then a report by CBS Sports broke last week that the NCAA is disregarding the Pac-12's intention of not playing until 2021 by moving forward with its 2020-21 schedule. Two potential start dates gaining steam are set for either Wednesday, Nov. 25 OR Friday, December 4.
The college basketball season typically starts in the beginning of November with multiple big-time preseason tournaments — such as the Maui Invitational and Puerto Vallarta Tipoff. But with the proposed change in time frame, it's unknown if those tournaments will still take place or be canceled altogether.
With those two chosen start dates, it means that official practices could begin on Oct. 14 (Nov. 25 start date) OR Oct. 24 (Dec. 4 start date).
But now there is growing optimism that the Pac-12 could reconsider that start date in favor of starting with the rest of the NCAA.
According to a report by Jon Wilner of The Mercury News, the league is going to "re-evaluate its decision to postpone the basketball season until 2021 if favorable circumstances unfold inside NCAA headquarters and on the campuses" of the Pac-12.
According to another report by CBS Sports, "I would be surprised if it stuck."
"Sources told CBS Sports the NCAA's men's basketball oversight committee and the men's basketball selection committee are holding separate meetings Wednesday to discuss these potential start dates, among other action items. On Thursday, Division I conference commissioners will hold a meeting to discuss the basketball season, as will the NABC. On Friday, the women's basketball committee and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association will convene and seek feedback on the recommended models as well."
Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak knows what he's talking about when regarding the potential for an upcoming season. He is one of two Pac-12 coaches on a 35-person committee, made up of mostly medical professionals, who have been meeting to discuss multiple possibilities for playing college basketball in early 2021.
“Our medical team in the Pac-12 has been unbelievable — they would win any championship you could create,” he said. “Their projections are that these numbers are supposed to diminish by November. So instead of making a mistake (by starting the season in November), we’re going to have six to eight weeks of practice to really get dialed in and be ready to tee it up when hopefully the worst of this is behind us on Jan. 1.”
If college football can play this fall and succeed, it will give off a lot of confidence in whether or not the same thing can be done for college basketball.
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