It’s hard for anyone around college athletics to remember that at one point, there was a true offseason. As it, it was impermissible for coaches to work with athletes on anything outside of conditioning unless it was during a sport’s season. Now with offseason skill instruction, two hours per week of full practice and now summer basketball, the idea that basketball practice starts today is antiquated:
“We already have a pretty good feel of what we need to do,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said Wednesday afternoon, prior to the V Foundation dinner. “It doesn’t dawn on me that Friday is the start of practice because I feel like we’ve been practicing. The rule changes have changed all of that.”
The NCAA should finish the job and end the idea of a uniform start date for in-season practice by expanding the women’s basketball rule to men’s basketball. That rule looks like this:
An institution shall not commence on-court preseason basketball practice sessions before the date that is 40 days before the date of the institution’s first regular-season contest. An institution shall not engage in more than 30 days of countable athletically related activities before its first regular-season contest.
What that essentially does is start basketball practice during the first week of October, and provides student-athletes with an average of two days off per week before the first game. It also would not kill off the festival of the start of practice on campus, which is now not guaranteed to be on the date set to start practice. But it would move it around for different campuses.