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Report: Four start dates under consideration for NCAA basketball season

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 24, 2020

Gonzaga’s Mark Few speaks with players during a quick timeout during the second half of a game in mid-February of 2020 2020 at McCarthey Athletic Center.  (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Mark Few speaks with players during a quick timeout during the second half of a game in mid-February of 2020 2020 at McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Basketball seasons for Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Idaho may start as early as the second week of November or as late as the first week of December, according to a report from CBS Sports.

The story, published Monday afternoon, listed the four options the NCAA is apparently examining for the start of the college basketball season. CBS Sports obtained a copy of the timeline document that was sent to conference commissioners last week.

Potential start dates would only apply to three of the four regional schools. Because the Pac-12 delayed all sport competitions to the start of 2021, WSU won’t be able to open year No. 2 under Kyle Smith until Jan. 1 at the earliest.

The first option, according to CBS Sports, would permit teams to open practice on Sept. 29 and begin the season in earnest on Nov. 10.

Option No. 2 allows practices to start on Oct. 9 and games on Nov. 10.

The third option gives teams the chance to start practices on Oct. 14 and the regular season on Nov. 25.

Per CBS Sports, the final option would allow practices to open on Oct. 24. Games would not commence until Dec. 4.

The aforementioned dates won’t be the only ones considered by the NCAA, and CBS sources indicated the organization’s men’s basketball oversight committee and men’s basketball selection committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss potential start dates and other items related to the 2020-21 college basketball season.

That will be followed by a Thursday meeting of Division I conference commissioners, per CBS Sports, along with a meeting for the NABC.

Friday, the women’s basketball committee and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association will hold similar meetings and discuss possibilities.

The men’s and women’s oversight committees intend to meet on Aug. 31 and the NCAA is targeting the first week of September to present a model, or multiple models, to the Division I Council.

CBS Sports reports the D-I Council would vote on a start date for the 2020-21 season on Sept. 16, though the vote would require approval from both oversight committees.

“The first thing to understand is when you’re going to play the tournament – start from the end,” a source told CBS Sports. “If you’re going to try to play the tournament in March, what does that look like? How many games in the regular season? If you move it to May, more (teams) have a chance to participate, there’s more equity around the board.”

According to the CBS Sports article, at least one commissioner suggested the NCAA intends to do everything in its power to hold the NCAA Tournament in 2021, and also that keeping the field at 68 teams was a priority.

Another source told the website placing a 1% chance on the season starting on Nov. 10, “may be high.”

Some think opening the college basketball season around the Thanksgiving holiday could be beneficial since most campuses would be student-free at that point, according to CBS Sports.

“That has a ton of momentum,” a source told the site.

A January start date like the one the Pac-12 has adopted is on the table, but that won’t be seriously considered until the fall, a source told CBS Sports.

Another factor that could play into the NCAA’s decision on when to start college basketball may be the success of the college football season, per CBS Sports.

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