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Ultra-competitive Pac-12 has moved its season start date up to Nov. 25

Women’s college basketball was denied the NCAA Women’s Tournament for the 2019-20 season due to the pandemic. The NCAA is hoping the 2020-21 season will be successful and safe at the same time.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 12 Women’s Stanford at Cal
Sophomore Haley Jones hopes to lead Stanford to bigger and better things in the Pac-12 this season.
Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pac-12 announced on Sept. 24 that it has reversed its decision to push all sports back to Jan. 1, 2021. Its women’s basketball slate will begin on Nov. 25 along with the rest of the NCAA.

The NCAA Division I Council approved on Sept. 16 the postponement of the 2020-21 season from Nov. 10 to Nov. 25 due to to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The NCAA’s plan includes the following stipulations:

  • There will be no exhibition games or scrimmages
  • Maximum of 27 regular-season games
  • Minimum of 13 regular-season games
  • Recommendation of at least four non-conference games
  • Teams permitted to begin practices on Oct. 14
  • Teams can work out lightly during a transition period of Sept. 21 to Oct. 13

The NCAA said that at least 75 percent of Division I (DI) schools will be done with their fall semesters, in-person if not completely, by the new start date.

NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said of the new start date, which falls the day before Thanksgiving:

The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season. ... It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.

If this were a normal season, each team would play 31 games and be required to play in at least 26.

The current max of 27 games includes in-season tournaments. In 2020-21, however, teams will be able to make the NCAA Tournament as long as they reach the 13-game minimum while playing only DI opponents.