College basketball: Committee discusses new start date for season
To decompress the schedule and generate more excitement with the beginning of the basketball regular season, the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee discussed a new start date for the sport.
The conversation, which took place Wednesday and Thursday in Indianapolis, centered on making the Tuesday before the second Friday in November as the season’s uniform start date. This would be three days earlier than the current start date.
Committee members also discussed standardizing the playing season to 21 weeks with a mandatory three- or four-day break for the student-athletes at some point during their school’s winter vacation period.
The men’s college basketball community has been discussing the possibility of establishing a uniform start date for the sport. Many believe it can create a less compressed schedule, particularly for nonconference games, which they believe would benefit student-athlete well-being by providing more time for rest and recovery.
A mid-week start date could also create additional attention and excitement at the beginning of the season.
The timing could have other benefits: In recent years, it has become part of the sport’s culture to hold regular-season openers with ties to U.S. military venues to honor and entertain current and past service members. The date currently being considered would ensure that Veterans Day would be included in the early part of the season annually.
The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee will next gather feedback from the membership and collaborate with the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee to discuss legislation that could be considered for adoption during the 2017-18 academic year, with any changes effective for the 2018-19 basketball season.
Future of the game
The oversight committee also noted that some trends, including the flow and pace of the game as well as the balance between offense and defense, had improved in the past two years. Following the advisement of the new Division I Men’s Basketball Competition Committee, the oversight committee asked the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee to take the next six to 12 months to conduct a holistic review of potential significant rules changes, including a careful examination of unintended consequences that could result.
The committees were asked to collect data during the 2017-18 season to determine if changes — such as widening the lane from its current 12-foot width, extending the 3-point line or changing the game from being played in two halves to four quarters — would benefit the sport and help the positive trends continue.