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NCAA looks to September for decision on basketball season tipoff

APTOPIX Wisconsin Indiana Basketball
Posted at 10:25 AM, Aug 18, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA will decide next month whether the college basketball season can begin on time or if it will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said Monday that mid-September will likely be the first of many decisions about the 2020-21 season. Gavitt said the NCAA has developed and studied contingency plans in case the season cannot be started on Nov. 10.

"In the coming weeks, the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees will take the lead with me in a collaborative process of finalizing any recommendations for consideration by the NCAA Division I Council for the start of the college basketball season," Gavitt said in a statement. "By mid-September, we will provide direction about whether the season and practice start on time or a short-term delay is necessitated by the ongoing pandemic."

Four conferences, including the Big Ten and Pac-12, have postponed fall sports and hope to play in the spring. Six leagues, including the Big 12, ACC and SEC, are moving forward with plans to play in the fall.

The Pac-12 has said its postponement includes basketball, but other conferences have not mentioned plans for hoops.

Forbes reported last week the Big East is considering a bubble format for its men's and women's basketball seasons, while NCAA President Mark Emmert endorsed the idea of playing the 2021 basketball tournaments in a bubble, according to ESPN.

Indianapolis is scheduled to host the 2021 men's Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium. The pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments, costing the NCAA a reported $375 million.

"We recognize that we are living and operating in an uncertain time, and it is likely that mid-September will be just the first milestone for many important decisions pertaining to the regular season and the NCAA basketball championships," Gavitt said in his statement. "While circumstances may warrant flexibility resulting in a different and perhaps imperfect season, the ultimate goal is to safely provide student-athletes and teams with a great college basketball experience."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.