There will officially be USF Bulls basketball this year if things go according to plan.
The NCAA’s Division I Council on Wednesday announced that the 2020-21 college basketball season will begin Nov. 25. The decision will push back the beginning of the season two weeks from the original start date of Nov. 10.
According to the NCAA, the reason to delay the season to late November was so that teams could begin their season during the Thanksgiving break.
By that time, most Division I schools would be completing their fall semesters. This will allow the season to begin in a much more controlled, less populated setting so that the risk of a coronavirus outbreak is minimized.
Teams will have to wait a bit longer to be able to practice together as the council decided not to allow teams to do so until Oct. 14.
However, until that point, there will be a transition period beginning Sept. 21 that will allow players to prepare for the upcoming season. Teams will be allowed to participate in strength and conditioning activities, sports-related meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours per week.
In terms of what the season will look like, teams can play as many as 25 games or as few as 13 and still be considered NCAA championship selection eligible.
The maximum of 25 games is four less than in a typical season, but there is an additional caveat.
Men’s basketball teams will be able to schedule 24 regular-season games and participate in one tournament with up to three games, or they can play 25 regular-season games and participate in one tournament with up to two games. Teams can also decide to play a 25-game regular season and choose not to play in any tournaments.
In regard to women’s basketball, teams can either play a 23-game regular season and participate in a tournament with up to four games or play a 25-game regular season and elect to not participate in a tournament.
It is not yet clear how the delayed start to the season and new format will affect USF’s season.
The men’s team was slated to participate in the Fort Myers Tip-Off, with games scheduled on Nov. 23 and 25. The women’s team has not revealed its schedule.