Official Nov. 25 Basketball Season Start Date


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Official Nov. 25 Basketball Season Start Date

Madison Burke

On Thursday, Sept. 17, Villanova basketball head coach Jay Wright went on Zoom with various media personnel to answer questions about the upcoming season. With the official announcement from the NCAA about the Nov. 25 start date, Wright discussed what the upcoming season would look like.

“It is great news for all of us in college basketball,” Wright said. “It gives us a starting point. First we have to start putting together our conference schedule, given these new parameters.” 

Those parameters include the minimum number of games that must be played to qualify for the NCAA tournament and the restrictions on non-conference play. Wright explained that the Big 10 challenge game does not fit into the new schedule, but he is working to reschedule some if not all of those games.

“Right now, we are all scrambling and spending a lot of time on scheduling,” Wright said. “Our first priority right now is getting our Big East schedule set as quickly as possible.”

After an ambiguous few months, there is finally a start date that begins the mad dash to create a schedule. The schedule will need to abide by each individual university’s COVID-19 standards, as well as state regulations.

Wright made sure to highlight, “It’s about testing, and it’s about protocols,” adding that it has been a long and strange few months back on campus. 

“Practices are strange,” Wright said. He discussed that the University guidelines include pods, in which there are about four athletes to a pod and those athletes can practice together safely. On Sept. 21, the team was cleared to start practicing as a team, which they have not been able to do yet since coming back to campus.

The announcement of a starting date has been able to boost morale on the team. 

“I sensed a little bit of relief in the guys today,” Wright said. “They had a little extra motivation.” 

Other basketball programs have already begun to practice as a team, so the players are excited to get back on the court with the full team. Wright described the team as feeling the need to prove themselves after the abrupt close to last season and the loss of sophomore forward Saddiq Bey.

“I am super psyched about our team this year and being at Villanova,” Wright said. 

With four seniors, the ‘Cats are itching to get back to practicing and games soon after to prove they are at the same caliber as they were last season and maybe even better.

The season also brings difficult conversations to fruition. Villanova has had important conversations about diversity and inclusion throughout the past few seasons, and this season is no different. In the scope of professional boycotts and civil unrest, Wright has made time for tough conversations.

“In the Big East, we are going to wear Black Lives Matter patches,” Wright said. “We also have to think about what more we can do to be people who can create serious change.”

He continued to speak about how every member of the team is registered to vote and that the NCAA has stopped all athletic activities on Nov. 3 to allow student-athletes to exercise their right to vote. Instilling discussions about diversity is crucial to the season that Wright has in mind and to help support various social justice initiatives.

Wright highlighted how grateful the team was to be together and have the opportunity to play basketball in the midst of a global pandemic. Players have even more responsibility to stay safe for their teammates and for the Villanova community as a whole. 

The team will focus on basketball in hopes of having a full season and making it to March. They look to prove themselves as serious contenders in the tournament.