NCAA announces start date for 2020-21 basketball season


Morgan Anderson

Freshman Tyson Etienne speaks to his teammates in a huddle during the game against Tulane on Feb. 16 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Nov. 25 will be the new start date for the 2020-21 basketball season, the NCAA announced Wednesday. The original plan was for the season to begin on Nov. 10 but the NCAA pushed that date back three weeks.

Originally, WSU was set to have a matchup with Sam Houston State prior to the Nov. 25 start date but this game along with others will be pushed back or rescheduled as needed. WSU had a scrimmage against Kansas State at INTRUST Bank Arena scheduled which will be canceled as the NCAA is not allowing any scrimmages or exhibitions to take place this year.

“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 release. “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.”

According to a report from CBS Sports’s Jon Rothstein, the Battle For Atlantis tournament that WSU is slated to take part in will be moving locations. The tournament was supposed to take place on Paradise Island in the Bahamas but will now be moved to the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at a future date. There will also be a small number of fans allowed to attend, according to Rothstein’s report. The Battle For Atlantis also features a stacked field including the likes of Duke, Creighton, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah and West Virginia.

As part of the NCAA’s decision, the regular season capacity has been reduced by four games, which will cause the maximum number of games to be at 27 and the minimum of 13 games. The recommendation from the NCAA was to have a minimum of four non-conference games for each team as well. Teams will also be allowed to start practicing as much as 12 hours per week starting Sept. 21, with official preseason practice starting Oct. 14. Team will 42 days to conduct 30 practices and players can work out 20 hours a weeks, four hours a day.

WSU has not released a schedule yet but could release one in the coming weeks. The American Athletic Conference has yet to announce what its plans are for the upcoming season as well.

The Shockers were slated to have some non-conference games against high-major schools such as Missouri, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Western Kentucky. It is still undecided as to when and how these games will take place.

The NCAA also announced that no Division I student-athletes will part and compete on the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 every year, including this year’s upcoming election on Nov. 3. The AAC had already previously announced that no athletic events would take place within the conference.

Although the start date is now official it is not permanent, depending on if COVID-19 situations worsen. The date could get pushed back if needed. The Division-I Council will next meet in October when it is closer to the potential start of the season.

This story will be updated as more information is released from the NCAA.