After months of deliberation, the NCAA has decided to allow Division I men’s and women’s basketball to begin their seasons on Nov. 25.
According to NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt, its biggest deciding factor was that a majority of participating schools, including Belmont, have decided to end their fall semesters a week before Thanksgiving — meaning there will no longer be students on campus.
This provides a six-week window for a basketball season to take place without impacting students living on campuses.
The NCAA is also planning to proceed with the NCAA tournament in the spring, meaning both the men’s and women’s teams will get a shot at appearing in the tournament once again.
After last season’s unfortunate loss in the Ohio Valley Conference semi-championship, it was uncertain whether the women’s team would be picked as an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.
And coming off a season disrupted by COVID-19, a chance at redemption is all women’s coach Bart Brooks could ask for.
“We are so appreciative of the efforts made by our administration to get us back on this beautiful campus to play the game we love,” said Brooks.
“Getting an opportunity to compete again beside the amazing young women in our program brings our coaching staff so much joy and excitement.”
For the men’s team, confirmation of a basketball season has kickstarted its competitive drive.
After being snubbed of a potential tournament run, the team is more excited than ever to begin the journey of this unpresented season, said men’s basketball coach Casey Alexander..
“Our players want to compete,” said Alexander. “We’re all looking forward to the journey of a new season and the opportunity to keep building upon our program’s proud tradition.”
As the Nov. 25 date only provides a framework for schools to schedule play around, there is no official schedule for either team at this time.
But for the players, there’s still high anticipation to get back to work and play the game they love.
This article written by Julieann Challacombe.