After a long wait, Bradley basketball fans can finally circle a date on their calendars and commence a countdown for the 2020-21 season to begin.
On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I council announced men’s and women’s basketball can start as early as Nov. 25 and practices will be permitted starting Oct. 14.
According to the release from the NCAA, the committee set the Nov. 25 start date based on the fact that at least three-quarters of DI schools will have students off campus at that point, therefore creating a “more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19” among student-athletes.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
The new start date was pushed back from the previous Nov. 10 starting point.
As a result of the delay, the maximum number of games was reduced by four – men’s basketball can now schedule 24 regular-season games and participate in a multi-team event, and women’s basketball may schedule up to 23 games in addition to a multi-team event.
While there is no requirement, the men’s and women’s basketball committees recommend teams play “a minimum of four non-conference games.” To be considered for NCAA championship eligibility, teams must play a minimum of 13 games against Division I opponents. Under normal circumstances, teams must play 26 games to be eligible for March Madness.
Schedules have yet to be announced for Bradley men’s or women’s basketball.
The Braves’ men are still in the field for Paradise Jam, a multi-team tournament originally slated to take place in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Nov. 20-23. According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, the tournament will be relocated to Washington, D.C. A new start date has yet to be determined.
“There remain a number of details and logistics to confirm in preparation for the upcoming season,” Chris Reynolds, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics said in a statement. “We assure you that we are working diligently to complete that process as soon as possible…”