College basketball teams will be allowed to begin practice two weeks earlier thanks to new NCAA legislation.
During the Division I Board of Directors meeting Thursday it was decided that teams can begin practice 42 days before the first game of the regular season.
Teams aren’t allowed to play official games (exhibition games don’t count, obviously) until the second Friday of November at the earliest, and the rules change means that teams can begin practice in late-September.
During that six week period teams will be allowed up to 30 practices, and the change moves men’s basketball rules in this area closer to the practice rules for women’s basketball teams (which are allowed begin practice 40 days before their first game).
The original proposal allowed practice to start 40 days before the first game, but the Council members adjusted the rule to accommodate for Midnight Madness events often planned around the first men’s basketball practice. Because a significant number of teams start playing games on the first day the rules allow it (the second Friday in November), the first day for practice would fall on a Sunday, which is not conducive to Midnight Madness events. Expanding the time period to 42 days allows the first practice to be held on a Friday.
Under the old rules teams were allowed 24 practices over a 30-day period, but that changes with the new legislation. Also of note is the removal of the rule prohibiting teams from holding their first practice of the season before 5 p.m. local time.
Will that change lead to another change to “Midnight Madness” festivities? Probably not. Unless a school happens to be on fall break, it would be tough to schedule a midday event given the need for both the players and student body as a whole to attend class.
But with recent ideas in college basketball such as playing on an aircraft carrier or on a military base, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if some enterprising athletic department came up with something to take advantage of the rule change.