The NCAA’s Division I Council announced on Wednesday that the 2020-21 college basketball season will begin Nov. 25. Teams can start practicing on Oct. 14, according to the announcement, and can hold up to 30 practices before their season opener.
Division I programs will be required to play at least 13 regular season games to be eligible for the NCAA tournament but will not be permitted to play more than 27, a four-game decrease from last season. There will be no exhibition or scrimmages played prior to the start of the season, and the Division I Council recommended a minimum of four non-conference games.
“It is 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,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said in the announcement.
Men’s basketball teams have three options for setting regular season schedules. They can play 24 opponents and three additional games in a tournament, 25 games with two additional tournament matchups or 25 games without participating in a tournament. Women’s teams can either play 23 games and four tournament games or 25 non-tournament games.
The SEC allowed athletes to return to Athens for voluntary on-campus workouts beginning June 8. From July 20 until the start of Georgia’s fall semester, coaches could require up to eight hours of mandatory training each week with no more than four hours of “skill instruction” per week, according to NCAA regulations.
Wednesday’s announcement outlined a transition period between Sept. 21 to Oct. 13 in which coaches can increase totally required activities to 12 hours each week, including up to eight hours of skill instruction.