NCAA Announces Start of College Basketball Season

Ryan Jones, Managing Editor

The winter sports season is back on after the NCAA Division I Council approved the start date for both men’s and women’s basketball season.

There will be a games played, but things will not look like a typical season.

Games will start on November 25 instead of the originally planned November 10 date. This was done because most schools are sending students home after Thanksgiving for the remainder of the semester. The empty campuses will be used as an impromptu “bubble” for basketball players, though the term bubble has specifically not been used by the NCAA so as to avoid confusion.

Teams are required COVID-19 testing three times per week. This includes players, coaches, trainers and anyone else the team would be interacting with during the season. For CCSU this number is right around 30 tests given three times a week.

A problem some schools may face is the cost of testing. CCSU may be looking into cheaper testing possibilities than their current tests, which cost over $100 per person. Cheaper tests run the risk of false positives/negatives, but the belief is that such a high volume of testing each week will weed out any false reads.

As of now, no schedule is in place for who CCSU will be playing or when, but the belief is that there will not be much travel this year due to the pandemic as well as spending.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have already started practicing on the court in small pods and masks. Full team practices will start up on Wednesday, October 15.

The maximum number of games a team can play is 27, down from the usual 31. Along with this, teams only need to play in 13 games to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament, the latter possibly a decision made factoring in the realities of the pandemic. For a basketball team, one positive test could wipe out an entire team for a few weeks and with an already shorted season, makeup games may be hard to come by.

The NCAA recommended that schools play in at least four non-conference games. For CCSU, these games are crucial for the athletic department. Before the pandemic, the men’s team was scheduled to play in guarantee games against Virginia Tech and UConn. If both of these games are still played, it’s likely that the revenue made will be less than originally planned.

The men’s team was also slated to play in three non-conference games as part of an event at Rutgers. Originally scheduled for November 10, this may be out of the question as well for the new season.

At this time there is no information on a start date for CCSU and the rest of the Northeast Conference, however the NEC has met twice already to discuss possibilities and is scheduled to meet on September 30. All signs at the moment point to a December start to the regular season.