College Basketball Gets Go-Ahead to Play Games on Nov. 25

Dan Raley

College basketball seasons for men and women have been given the green light to begin as early as Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, the NCAA Division I Council ruled on Wednesday. 

The Pac-12 Conference still has a self-induced competition ban in place for all fall sports until the new year, but conceivably could allow basketball to proceed.

The conference remains the only one of the Power 5 leagues that hasn't cleared the way to have a football season — because public-health experts in California and Oregon have yet to lift restrictions on the size of public gatherings needed to play these games.

Pac-12 basketball teams, however, seemingly would face no such limitations with far fewer players needed for competition. 

The NCAA council said no exhibitions or scrimmages can be held prior to Nov. 25. Bubble situations similar to the NBA have been encouraged (see accompanying video), with possibly eight tournament proposed for Orlando, because of pro basketball's success in Florida. 

"We will have a season," Husky coach Mike Hopkins said recently, remaining ever hopeful and apparently getting his wish. 

Hopkins, while he has the NCAA go-ahead to pursue a season, is still waiting on waivers from the governing body that would permit transfers Erik Stevenson from Wichita State and Cole Bajema from Michigan to play right away for the Huskies.

Dave Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, announced the season start with a word of caution, saying, "It's a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships."

The Nov. 25 start is roughly two weeks later than what college basketball nominally hs permitted in recent seasons. 

The Council also changed the maximum number of games a team can play and the minimum number of games required for consideration for NCAA tournament selection. Teams are allowed to play 24 or 25 games, plus one multiple-team event. The minimum number of games was cut in half to 13.

Up to 30 preseason practices are permitted, beginning as early as Oct. 14, with strength and conditioning workouts enabled as early as next Monday. 

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