NCAA council approves earlier start date for college basketball

By: Matt Jones
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018
A rack of basketballs is shown during halftime of an exhibition game between Arkansas and Missouri Western on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
A rack of basketballs is shown during halftime of an exhibition game between Arkansas and Missouri Western on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Fayetteville.

— The college basketball season is about to begin earlier.

The NCAA Division I Council approved Wednesday a proposal that will allow the season to begin the Tuesday before the second Friday in November, meaning the season could begin as early as Nov. 5 in some years. The 2018-19 season will begin Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The rule change applies to men's and women's basketball. Previously the season could begin as early as the second Friday in November, or no earlier than Nov. 8.

One argument for passing the proposal was to move college basketball openers away from weekends with college football.

“The hope is that the change in start date for basketball will create an excitement around the tip-off of the season and provide better scheduling balance in the calendar,” said Blake James, the Miami athletic director who is chairman of the Division I Council. “Because we didn’t increase the number of games, schools also will have more flexibility to provide students time off during the holidays.”

Preseason practice can begin 42 days before the first game for men and women after a proposal passed Wednesday to allow women's teams to begin practice two days earlier.

Autonomy conferences will vote Friday whether to implement a mandatory three-day break for teams during a university's winter vacation.

Arkansas' men have one known nonconference opponent for the 2018-19 season - at Colorado State on an undetermined date in December, according to the game contract.

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