By Dymond McElrath
Sept.17th, 2020: just a regular Thursday for some, but for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) students, it was the day they had been waiting for, for some time now.
Around the middle of March, COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, swept across the country causing panic, fear and mayhem throughout the nation. As this deadly virus swarmed, college athletes everywhere were ordered to grab their books, pack their bags, and go home because their season was over. College athletes were bewildered at the fact that they could not continue what they loved.
Since then, athletes and coaches in Divisions I, II, III, NAIA, and junior college have been on pins and needles waiting for what felt like the decision of a lifetime. On Sept. 17, the Division I/II Council approved moving the first contest date in Divisions I/II Men’s and Women’s basketball to Nov. 25 to kick off the 2020-21 season. The first basketball game was originally scheduled for Nov. 12, however because the season begins fifteen days later, the season will be shortened four games.
The New Guideline: Women’s basketball teams may schedule twenty-three regular-season games if the team decides to partake in a multiple-team event. If the women’s team does not choose to do so, they may schedule a twenty-five game season. On the men’s side, they may schedule a twenty-five regular game season unless they participate in a multiple-team event, causing them to have to schedule a twenty-four game season. Either way, the ball is in their court.
There is a pending waiver out for schools requesting to play basketball games prior to the intended start date of Nov. 25. However, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee believes it is very unlikely to rule in their favor. Nevertheless, practicing with masks, social distancing, frequent temperature checks, and taking all the other agitating, but necessary precautions, it is safe to say college basketball players are extremely excited and would not presently have it any other way. NCAA is back!