Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The NCAA Division I Council announced Wednesday the 2020-21 men's and women's college basketball seasons can start Nov. 25.
The council said no exhibition games or scrimmages can take place before that date. The decision to move the start date back from Nov. 10 was made to create "a more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19 that can occur between student-athletes and the broader student body population."
At that time, most Division I schools will have concluded their fall terms or moved remaining classes and exams online.
"The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season," NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement Wednesday.
"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."
Due to the delayed start, the Division I Council also altered the maximum number of games a team can play and the minimum number of games required to be considered for NCAA championship selection. The minimum number of games was reduced by 50% -- dropping to 13 games.
In men's basketball, teams will be allowed to play 24 or 25 regular-season games, plus one multiple-team event. In women's basketball, teams can schedule 23 games -- plus one multiple-team event -- or 25 games without a multiple-team event.
Full pre-season practices can begin Oct. 14, with 30 practices allowed over the 42 days before the start of the upcoming season. The council also approved a transition practice period that permits teams to participate in strength and conditioning activities, meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours per week between Sept. 21 and Oct. 13.
The 2020-21 season was initially set to begin Nov. 10 with the men's Champions Classic involving Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Kentucky.
Earlier this year, the 2020 men's and women's NCAA tournaments were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.