NCAA releases Covid-19 guidelines for college basketball


Alexa Sandler

DePaul men’s basketball head coach Dave Leitao talks to a referee during the Blue Demons’ game against Georgetown on Feb. 8 at Wintrust Arena.

A week after approving a start date for the 2020-21 college basketball season, Nov. 25, the NCAA has now released guidelines for testing, travel considerations and access to the court and bench areas. 

The guidelines recommend testing three times per week on non-consecutive days throughout the season, including for officials, as well as having proper distancing protocols for Tier 1 people —which includes student-athletes and essential personnel who are in regular contact with them. 

“The guidelines reflect recommendations from collaboration with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, which features representatives from across the membership,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline. “We will continue to work with them and others from the Association in safeguarding student-athlete well-being.”

According to DePaul athletic director DeWayne Peevy, as of last week, the Big East is still in discussions regarding scheduling and testing. A Big East spokesperson also said that the conference has yet to make a concrete decision on testing protocols.

“Discussions are ongoing as of Friday afternoon in regards to scheduling and testing with the conference office and the Big East membership,” Peevy told The DePaulia last week. “Once the structure of a conference schedule is determined, we can fill in other dates of potential non-conference games under the guidelines set by the NCAA earlier this week.”

In an effort to limit the possibility of exposure to Covid-19 on campus, the NCAA moved back the start date of the season by two weeks, with more universities ending fall semester in the first couple of weeks in November. According to NCAA President Mark Emmert, the goal is to have better testing capabilities by the end of the year. 

“This basketball resocialization guidance is based on the best information available in a rapidly changing COVID-19 environment,” Emmert said in a statement. “It is predicated on the assumption that rapid testing capabilities will be readily available later this year. We will constantly assess emerging information as we prepare for the start of the basketball season at the end of November.”

The Big East is moving to a 20-game conference schedule this season with the addition of UConn. According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, the Big East is considering playing two conference games in December. 

The amount of games required to play this season was also reduced to down 27 games, and teams can schedule as few as 13. 

Teams can begin preseason activities on Oct. 14 and will have 42 days to conduct 30 practices. The Division I council is allowing players to work out for 20 hours per week, four hours a day and must have one day off per week. 

In the meantime, teams are allowed 12 hours per week to conduct basketball-related activities. Players currently have two days off per week. 

“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.”