The fact that college basketball is one of the only sports without a recognizable and celebrated opening day has been an issue that has bugged critics of the sport for a long time.
Change could be on the way.
The Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee discussed the potential for changing the start date for college basketball games, moving it up from the second Friday in November to the Tuesday before the second Friday in November; three days earlier.
“The men’s college basketball community has been discussing the possibility of establishing a uniform start date for the sport,” the NCAA wrote in a statement. “Many believe it can create a less compressed schedule, particularly for nonconference games, which they believe would benefit student-athlete well-being by providing more time for rest and recovery.”
It’s also worth noting that the committee is considering creating a mandatory mid-season break. “Committee members also discussed standardizing the playing season to 21 weeks with a mandatory three- or four-day break for the student-athletes at some point during their school’s winter vacation period,” the NCAA said.
The real story, however, is the NCAA’s effort to create a college basketball opening day. It would be a nice change, particularly if the games are played midweek, but the bigger issue would be putting together games that would actually make opening night worth watching. As it currently stands, the de-facto starting point for the college basketball season is the Champions Classic, a showcase that features four of the biggest brands in the sport playing a double-header that caps a 24-hour college basketball marathon. It’s game like that — Duke vs. Kentucky, Kansas vs. Michigan State, North Carolina vs. Indiana, etc. — that need to be played on opening night to drive interest.
If all we end up getting is a bunch of high-major programs beating the hell out of overmatched mid-major teams no one cares about, the day that season starts isn’t going to matter.
Because no one is going to care.