The basketball teams at the University of Colorado may not be practicing for a while. But, unlike their peers on the football team, at least the Buffaloes can plan to tip off the 2020-21 season alongside the rest of the college basketball nation.
While the planned Nov. 6-7 restart date for Pac-12 Conference football dominated the headlines out of Thursday’s Pac-12 CEO Group meeting, the league’s chancellors and presidents also decided to pull back from its Jan. 1 start date for men’s and women’s basketball and instead will join the rest of the nation in tipping off the hoops season on Nov. 25.
The Pac-12 on Aug. 11 suspended all athletic competition through the remainder of 2020, a decision that delayed the first two months of the basketball season while postponing the entire fall sports slate. Last week, the NCAA Division I Council approved a Nov. 25 start date for men’s and women’s basketball.
If the Buffs schedule their opening game on Nov. 25, they will be allowed to start preseason practice on Oct. 14 (Teams can begin practice 42 days ahead of the first game). Men’s basketball teams will be allowed to play up to 27 games, either with 24 regular season games and a three-game multi-team event or 25 regular season games and a two-game multi-team event. For women’s basketball, teams can play 23 regular season games with one multi-team event of up to four games. If no multi-team events get scheduled, men’s and women’s teams can play a maximum of 25 games.
During a video conference call Thursday evening, CU athletic director Rick George said the number of conference basketball games that will be played in the Pac-12 will be determined in the near future. The league planned to move to a 20-game league schedule for the 2020-21 season.
“We’re having those discussions with the ADs, obviously with input from our head coaches in both men’s and women’s basketball,” George said. “We don’t have anything in detail we can give you at this point, but we’re working on that and hopefully we’ll finalize those schedules in the coming days.”
The CU men’s team had been scheduled to play South Florida and either Wisconsin or Butler at the Fort Myers Tip-Off in Florida. One source indicated that event isn’t necessarily off the table, but it will require a revamped schedule at the very least, as the Buffs were supposed to play South Florida on Nov. 23.
During Thursday’s conference call, CU women’s basketball coach JR Payne noted that men’s coach Tad Boyle has been in her office a few times this week comparing dates as the two programs attempt to cobble together their respective nonconference schedules.
“This last week or so has been really interesting, because we’ve had multiple scenarios,” Boyle said. “Number one, are we going to play November 25th or January 1? We know that now. Are we going to have 18 (league) games or 20 games? If we have 18 games, here’s what we’re going to try to do. If we play 20 games, here’s what we’re going to try and do. Once we get directives and those decisions are made from the athletic directors and our conference office, we’ll react accordingly. We’re working daily on what ifs.”
That possible Oct. 14 start date for official preseason basketball workouts is beyond the parameters of the shutdown ordered on Thursday by Boulder County Public Health requiring a halt on all gatherings of 18-to-22 year old Boulder residents until Oct. 8 in hopes of curtailing the ongoing spike in on-campus COVID-19 cases. No fans will be allowed in the stands through the remainder of 2020, a release from the league indicated that policy will be reassessed for January.