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NCAA Aims for Mid-September Determination on Start of Season

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Contingency plans are in the works as well.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert-Press Conference Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

After watching the football season fall apart in a piecemeal fashion, it looks like the NCAA is taking a bit more charge on providing a bit more insight and structure into how the basketball season will play out.

Here is the full statement put out today from NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt:

As we prepare for the 2020-21 college basketball season, we have exercised patience and discipline in monitoring the effects of COVID-19 and making decisions regarding the season. We have learned a great deal over the course of the summer, and with health and safety being our priority, we have developed and studied contingency plans for alternatives to the scheduled Nov. 10 start date.

In the coming weeks, the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees will take the lead with me in a collaborative process of finalizing any recommendations for consideration by the NCAA Division I Council for the start of the college basketball season. By mid-September, we will provide direction about whether the season and practice start on time or a short-term delay is necessitated by the ongoing pandemic.

We recognize that we are living and operating in an uncertain time, and it is likely that mid-September will be just the first milestone for many important decisions pertaining to the regular season and the NCAA basketball championships. While circumstances may warrant flexibility resulting in a different and perhaps imperfect season, the ultimate goal is to safely provide student-athletes and teams with a great college basketball experience.

Reading between the lines, it definitely looks like the NCAA is going to cover all bases and the Nov. 10 start is hardly set in stone. This should not be much of a surprise, considering how the news cycle has gone for COVID-19 throughout this pandemic. Each day, each week, and each month bring new developments, and putting down anything concretely for November (at this point) is rather pointless.

With the Pac 12 already canceling essentially all of their non-conference games through the 2020 calendar year, even if a basketball season started on Nov. 10, it wouldn’t be including all of the teams in that start. Like many other non-conference schedules, the Zags’ involves plenty of flying to new locations, and plenty of teams flying to Spokane.

However, it is nice to see the NCAA at least recognize the urgency of the situation and attempt to provide some bit of clarity on the best way to potentially salvage an entire season, be that a season without non-conference games or a season with May Madness.

Either way, my personal odds are the NCAA is not going to let the NCAA Tournament slip away for the second-consecutive year.