The NCAA is often painfully slow or inactive, but this week we finally got some action. The group released a series of new measures which covered Divisions I-III, as well as fall, winter, and spring sports. Here is a look at three that will impact the Hokies this year:
College Basketball gets a start date
The NCAA has approved moving the start of college hoops back from November 10th to November 25th, which is the day before Thanksgiving this year. No exhibition games will be allowed prior to 11/25. The thinking behind this is, that by 11/25 at least 75% of schools are expected to have completed in-person classes, moving to remote classes, exams, and/or pausing for an extended winter break this year. This will limit activity on campuses during a significant portion of the proposed basketball season.
Schools must play at least 13 games against other Division 1 schools in order to be considered for the NCAA Tournament. The committee also recommends playing at least four non-conference games. For the Hokies this should be quite feasible, with ACC play (even if regional) and then out of conference games against schools such as Radford, VMI, JMU, Longwood, VCU & Richmond.
For now March Madness still has 68 teams on the men’s side and 64 on the women’s side, but that is to be finalized later on. This season could we see the elimination of the conference tournaments and using the regular season champion as the conference winner instead?
No College Sports on Election Day
The NCAA passed a measure that prohibits student-athletes from practicing or playing sports on election day each year starting with this November. This move was made in order to make time for students to vote and/or participate in other civil activities.
Ethan Good, Division I SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) chair commented on the ruling, “By providing this day dedicated to civic engagement each year, we are making a clear distinction that our American student-athletes will always be citizens before they are athletes. The student-athlete voice continues to grow louder and louder every year, and we can see that through this action.”
Fall Championships moved to the Spring
The NCAA approved changes to the championships for men’s cross country, women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s water polo. First, championship brackets will be capped at 75% of the normal capacity. Second, any games/results from fall competitions will be counted towards consideration for selection in the championship brackets (considering some leagues/schools are unlikely to play a full season or at all in the fall).
The Men’s College Cup will be held on May 13-17, usually in December, and capped at 36 schools rather than the typical 48. The Women’s College Cup will also take place on May 13-17, with 48 teams being selected rather than 64. Both can have regular season games from February 3rd through April 17th, although the ACC is trying to play a reduced schedule in the fall, they could also add ACC matches during this spring session.
The championships proposals will need final approval by the Division I Board of Directors in the coming weeks.