The NCAA is planning an on-time start for college basketball, with the season scheduled to begin on November 10.
In an interview with NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said that while there is “uncertainty” in the world of sports due to the coronavirus, the organization is planning on moving forward as planned.
“Of course there’s uncertainty for all of us around the game. Obviously, we’re all looking forward to the NBA finishing their season, the Playoffs, crowning a world champion,” said Gavitt. “We’re hoping that goes great because it’s just a great thing for the game, all the players and those of us that love it.
“In college basketball, we are still planning on starting the season, right now, on schedule on November 10.”
With many schools – Kentucky being one – already bringing its players on campus, along with others set to return to campus and begin basketball activities in the coming weeks, there is a “high level of confidence” that the season will be played.
“We have plans across the country through our schools and conferences to bring students back to campus safely this month, in August, and then in early September,” he said. “Many players have been on campus for weeks now, training on campus in a very safe way. They’ve been very happy to be back playing the game they love with their coaches. We’ve got a high level of confidence.”
In one of the strongest statements we’ve seen from the organization since the pandemic canceled the NCAA Tournament back in March, Gavitt said that as long as basketball is being played safely anywhere in the world, they’ll find a way to play college basketball.
“As long as basketball is being played safely anywhere in the world this season, we’ll be playing NCAA college basketball as well, both regular season and certainly the tournament in 2021,” said Gavitt. “We’ve got all sorts of plans and alternatives that we’re looking at in order to be able to do that in a safe and responsible way. But a high level of confidence that there’s going to be, while different, a great experience playing college basketball again for those guys that want to come back to school, finish their education, and have a great college basketball experience.
Regarding an official announcement on the season, Gavitt says the expectation is to have something in place by September to confirm the NCAA’s plans to start on Nov. 10.
“I think at this point, we’re looking at some time in September having to make decisions about whether we stick with our plan to start on November 10 or consider other alternatives,” he said. “We’ll continue to look at those alternatives and contingencies. We need to be patient, we need to learn, we need to see how the fall sports – football, in particular – start, how the NBA finishes their season, Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, the NHL. And we’re doing that.
“We know so much more today than we did a month ago. Of course, we need the help of everyone who loves sports across the country to wear masks and socially distance, have good hygiene, and help stop the spread of this terrible disease.”