The NCAA finalized its outline for the 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball campaign on Wednesday evening.
The NCAA announced that the college basketball season will start Nov. 25, with practices being allowed to begin on Oct. 14. In men’s basketball, teams can schedule up to 24 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event (like a non-conference tournament) that includes up to three games.
Alternatives include scheduling 25 regular-season games and participating in a multiple-team event that includes two games, or just scheduling 25 regular-season games if a team does not participate in a multiple-team event.
On the women’s side, teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to four games or schedule 25 regular-season games with no multiple-team event.
The NCAA also announced it would not allow preseason scrimmages or exhibition games, and is recommending a minimum of four non-conference games.
“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said. “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.”
It is unclear how the Big Ten will set a schedule for the upcoming season. In this morning’s announcement that the conference’s football season would start on Oct. 24, the Big Ten said that updates on resuming play for winter sports that begin competition in the fall will “be announced shortly.”
However, the NCAA’s announcement poses significant questions about how Nebraska’s non-conference schedule will look in its second season under head coach Fred Hoiberg. The Nebraska women’s basketball team has yet to set a non-conference slate for the 2020-21 season as of Sept. 16.
As of now, Hoiberg’s squad’s Nov. 2 exhibition against Peru State, Nov. 10 season-opener against Cleveland State and Nov. 14 matchup with Purdue Fort Wayne will no longer take place. Games against Cleveland State and Purdue Fort Wayne could still be scheduled after the Nov. 25 start date if Nebraska wishes to keep both schools on its non-conference schedule.
Based on the Nebraska men’s current non-conference schedule, Nebraska would open the 2020-21 season on Nov. 25 with a home date against Lamar.
The Myrtle Beach Invitational, a tournament the Huskers are scheduled to compete in on Nov. 19-22, may not happen in its current state but still could be played. According to Gavitt, multiple-team events like the Myrtle Beach Invitational could be played in a bubble-type format popularized by the NBA.