After weeks and months of waiting, we have some clarity on when the NCAA will allow the start of basketball seasons — November 25th.
Before that date, there can be no closed scrimmages or exhibition games. After that date, teams can choose to play exhibition games. A number of early-season exempt events are scheduled to be relocated to places like South Dakota and Orlando.
An important piece of the reasoning: many, if not most, schools plan on finishing their on-campus academic offerings by then, reducing the chance of the spread of COVID-19 on campuses as players travel.
From the NCAA, the maximum number of games in the men’s regular season is down from 29 (plus an exempt event) to 25 plus a two-team exempt event OR 24 and a three-team exempt event.
The women’s teams will have 25 games OR 23 games and a four-team exempt event.
Teams will be able to have 30 full practices in 42 days, beginning on October 14. The players must have one day off per week, and can practice 20 hours a week. Between September 21 and October 13, teams can do strength training, conditioning and skill instruction.
Additionally, there will be no recruiting visits until January 1.
St. John’s has not released a schedule — original or revised — but are scheduled to play Texas Tech, possibly in Orlando, as part of the preseason NIT; Arizona and Cincinnati are on the other side of that bracket.
Of course, college basketball programs will need to be flexible with their schedules and locations due to the pandemic. Whether a limited number of fans would be allowed to attend or not, and under what protocols, is a question to be answered another day.
Until then, we can know that there is a plan to see the up-and-coming Red Storm attempt to outpace what could be modest expectations in a very different kind of season.