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Report: 4 college basketball start dates under consideration

NCAA hopes to reach decision in next few weeks

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Baylor vs Gonzaga Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Southeastern, Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences are pressing on with football this fall, while the attention of those in the Big Ten footprint has already turned to basketball. Will there even be a college basketball season this year? It may be too soon to say for certain, but a few options are already on the table.

According to a report from CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, the NCAA is currently considering four potential start dates for the men’s and women’s college basketball seasons. Here’s how they break down:

Scenario 1 (on time)

First practices: Sept. 29
First games: Nov. 10

Scenario 2

First practices: Oct. 9
First games: Nov. 20

Scenario 3

First practices: Oct. 14
First games: Nov. 25

Scenario 4

First practices: Oct. 24
First games: Dec. 4

Each scenario will be discussed this week by the various committees and organizations that dot the college basketball landscape, Norlander reports, and it is believed that some clarity could come from next Monday’s oversight meetings. Norlander goes on:

The NCAA is targeting the first week of September to settle on a model — or models, if necessary — to bring to the Division I Council. A vote on the season’s start date is scheduled to be made on Sept. 16 by the D-I Council. (Approval from the oversight committees for men’s and women’s basketball would precede the D-I Council vote.) The NCAA is also tentatively planning for an Oct. 13 and/or 14 meeting with the Division I Council to approve any necessary tweaks or changes to the schedule if enough has happened between Sept. 16 and Oct. 13 to mandate updates to college basketball’s season.

We’ll see how the return of football affects the decision-making process in the weeks to come. Potential shifts to online instruction might also factor into the equation. Norlander notes that there also seems to be growing momentum for starting the season right around Thanksgiving, when campuses become ghost towns and the risk of virus transmission might be minimized.

In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye on those crazy, football-lovin’ bastards down south. If they can pull off a football season with minimal interruptions this fall, it might just pave a path toward bouncing balls in short order.