As we get closer to maybe actually having a football season, we are finally getting some tidbits about what might be happening for the 2020-21 basketball season. The NCAA men’s basketball oversight committee reportedly is eyeing either November 25 or December 4 as potential start dates for the upcoming season, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.
Sources: November 25th and December 4th have emerged as the two likeliest start dates to begin the 20-21 college basketball season.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 27, 2020
Both of those dates fall into the sweet spot of students heading home for Thanksgiving and before conference play is set to begin in early January. Thanksgiving this year is November 26, and Virginia is one of many schools that have said there will be no in-person classes after students head home for Fall Break (November 24). The official start date for the season as of now is November 10.
One hurdle for starting before January: the Pac-12. When the Pac-12 canceled their football season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, they also announced that all sports would be postponed until January 1, 2021. That delayed date might not be as hard and fast as we once thought, however. “I would be surprised if it stuck,” a Pac-12 source told CBS Sports about that restart date for sports. “We’re fighting like hell to get the presidents to reconsider their vote.”
If play gets underway in late November, it’s likely it will happen in a bubble, much like the ones that professional leagues like the WNBA, NBA, and NWSL have had success with. NCAA President Mark Emmert started discussion around implementing a bubble for college basketball back in mid August, and you may see more of that talk as we get closer to the season.
What the bubbles might look like is up for debate, but there has been talk of some being created this fall to allow for non-conference play. The Cavaliers had a robust non-conference slate set up as Virginia was supposed to play in Anaheim for the Wooden Classic (featuring Georgetown, UCLA, and Kansas), has a game against Villanova at Madison Square Garden, and would play a still-to-be-determined ACC/Big Ten Challenge foe.
The biggest hint at potential bubble formations, however, is that the NCAA applied for a trademark for the term “Battle in the Bubble.” That would not only be applicable to a branded event, but apparel, too.
We’ll keep you updated as we find out more as we approach the season!