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DI Council moves start of basketball season

Football preseason, future transfer rules changes also considered

The college basketball season can start three days earlier this fall, the Division I Council decided Wednesday.

The college basketball season can start three days earlier this fall, the Division I Council decided Wednesday.

“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 Council chair Blake James, athletics director at Miami (Florida). “Because we didn’t increase the number of games, schools also will have more flexibility to provide students time off during the holidays.”

As a result of the change, the 2018-19 basketball season will begin Nov. 6 instead of Nov. 9. The Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences will vote on a proposal Friday that will require schools to give basketball student-athletes a three-day break during the winter vacation period. Student-athletes who compete in men’s and women’s basketball supported that change, according to the 2016 time demands survey.

Additionally, women’s basketball teams can begin preseason practice earlier than in past years. The change in the start for women’s basketball practice aligns the women’s practice start with the men’s, which will help administrators who previously had to monitor two separate start dates for their men’s and women’s basketball teams.

“The practice start is beneficial for both coaches and students,” said Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee chair Rich Ensor, commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. “Coaches will have additional flexibility in getting their teams prepared for the upcoming season without asking for additional time commitments from student-athletes.”

The Council also made changes for football preseasons.

Schools will count back 29 days from their first football game to decide the earliest preseason start date. The previous rules set the preseason start date through the use of a formula of counting back 40 practice units before the first game. Additionally, schools will not be required to provide student-athletes with a day off in the preseason (until classes start or a week before the first game), but practice will be limited to two hours of off-field meetings or film review.

In spring 2017, the Council voted to eliminate two-a-days in football.

Transfers

The Council also discussed the work of the Transfer Working Group, and voted to ask the Division I Board of Directors to approve a modified legislative timeline that would allow all transfer-related proposals to be considered as a package in June 2018.

The delay would allow time for the working group and the Committee on Academics to develop and recommend a possible set of academic benchmarks that, if met, would allow students in all sports to play immediately after transfer.

If the board approves a more flexible legislative timeline, the Council could wait until June to vote on the notification-of-transfer proposal with other transfer concepts.

The Council modified that proposal to require schools to enter a student-athlete’s information into the national transfer database within five days of the student notifying the school in writing that he or she wishes to transfer. The database would allow other schools to know who can be contacted and will be created and managed by the national office.

The Council also supported recommendations from the Student-Athlete Experience Committee to modify proposals that would streamline the recruiting calendar and from the Football Oversight Committee to table a proposal concerning staff sizes.