West Virginia’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, and all the other Division I programs, have a new target date for the start of their hoop seasons.
The NCAA’s Division I Council approved moving the first contest to Nov. 25 for the 2020-21 season. Originally the season was to start Nov. 10, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced a new start to the upcoming campaign.
There will be no exhibition games or closed scrimmages allowed before Nov. 25.
At least three-quarters of Division I schools will have concluded their fall terms or moved remaining instruction and exams online, which is WVU’s plan, after Nov. 25, creating a more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19 that can occur between student-athletes and the broader student body population, the Division I Men’s and Women’s Oversight Committee said.
The start of WVU’s spring semester has been pushed back to Jan. 19, giving West Virginia nearly an eight-week window to play basketball games without students on campus.
The maximum number of contests this coming season has been reduced by four, given that the season will start 15 days later than originally scheduled.
In men’s basketball, teams can play 24 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to three games.
In women’s basketball, teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to four games or schedule 25 regular-season games if a team does not compete in a multiple-team event.
West Virginia’s men’s team was originally slated to participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas from Nov. 25-27 along with Duke, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah, Creighton and Wichita State. Reportedly that in-season tournament is still going to take place, and probably will feature the same teams and same Thanksgiving week dates. Its reported new location will be the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Also the home of the NCAA Division II championship in recent years, including Fairmont State (W.Va.) University’s run to the title game in 2017, the seven-year-old Sanford Pentagon seats 3,250, though if or how many fans will be allowed into the tournament still hasn’t been announced.
West Virginia’s other non-conference games are currently uncertain. The Mountaineers had originally been slated to play home games against Fairleigh Dickinson, Pitt, Stony Brook, Robert Morris, Youngstown State and Miami (Ohio), as well as a game against Purdue in Brooklyn and two challenge games against unannounced opponents from the Big East and SEC. The fate of all those non-conference contests is currently up in the air.
Big 12 teams will likely still play their normal 18-game home-and-home schedule against other league foes. That slate should be announced in the near future.
The make-up of the Mountaineer women’s basketball schedule also should be revealed in the next couple of weeks.