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Wisconsin basketball: men’s and women’s hoops have a new start date

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First tip of the season has been moved back to Nov. 25 after being approved by the Division I Council.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

While most of the excitement and energy on Wednesday was focused on the return of Big Ten football this fall, the Division 1 Council approved moving the first contest date in Division I men’s and women’s basketball to Nov. 25 for the 2020-21 season.

Hooray! Wisconsin Badgers basketball is coming back!

The primary reason being: “Moving the start date back from Nov. 10 is intended to have contests begin when at least three-quarters of Division I schools will have concluded their fall terms or moved remaining instruction and exams online, creating a more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19.”

There will not be any exhibition games or “secret” scrimmages before the Nov. 25 start date and UW, along with the rest of the country, can begin preseason practice on Oct. 14 and will have 42 days to conduct a maximum of 30 practices. Players can work out up to 20 hours per week, four hours per day, and must have one day off per week.

Due to the unprecedented nature of this season, each team will be given a “transition period” to help their players get mentally and physically prepared for the season. The transition period will occur Sept. 21-Oct. 13, and teams may participate in strength and conditioning activities, sport-related meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours a week, with an eight-hour limit on skill instruction. Players must have two days off per week during the transition period.

As far as scheduling is concerned, the maximum number of games a team can play was reduced by four since, you know, the season’s start date got pushed back. In men’s basketball, teams can schedule 24 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to three games; 25 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to two games; or 25 regular-season games if a team does not participate in a multiple-team event.

In women’s basketball, teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to four games or schedule 25 regular-season games if a team does not compete in a multiple-team event.

“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” said NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”

Another key component of the Division 1 Council meeting is brought up here in Matt Norlander’s tweet: the in-person recruiting dead period will be extended to Jan. 1. This has been continually extended since April. A dead period precludes all in-person recruiting. Phone calls and correspondence can continue to occur.

“While the Council acknowledged and appreciates the growing desire to resume in-person recruiting by select coaches’ associations, Council members ultimately concluded the primary concern right now must be protecting the current student-athletes on our campuses,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “We encourage our coaches to interact with prospective student-athletes virtually in this time period.”

We will have more on how the recruiting dead period extension will affect the various teams on campus in the near future.