The NCAA men's basketball oversight committee reportedly is looking to start the 2020-21 season in late November.
According to Dana O'Neil of The Athletic, the committee views Nov. 25 and Dec. 4 as two ideal starting dates and is making "a hard push to go earlier and take advantage of vacated college campuses."
The idea behind the late November start is that many schools plan on closing prior to Thanksgiving and not reopening for spring semester until January amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without the general student population on campus, players could be somewhat isolated in a bubble-type setting.
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports also reported the news with additional explanation:
While traditional college basketball seasons start with nonconference games and even tournaments spread out across the country before league play, one source told O'Neil conference play may happen first during the holiday break for the general student population.
This would give college basketball a better chance of fitting in those important conference games before there are any potential delays or postponements during the pandemic.
Under such a scenario, teams may then play closer nonconference opponents following league games that require more travel.
The committee will eventually settle on a recommended start date and present that to the Division I Council. The Council would have to approve the start date for a season that is currently slated to begin on Nov. 10.
Both the NCAA men's and women's tournaments were canceled in March as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to become an inescapable reality in the United States. Many of the major conference tournaments on the men's side were also canceled, with some decisions being made right before players took the court.
It was a shocking development, and the nation's overall failure to keep the coronavirus in relative check over the course of the months since means there are still lingering questions about the 2020-21 season.
The uncertainty about the start date on the basketball side comes right before the start of a college football season that will be unlike any other in recent history. The Big Ten and Pac-12 both postponed their seasons until the spring, while the SEC, Big 12 and ACC all plan on playing in the fall.