College hoops teams can now start practice two weeks earlier

05/03/2013 4:40 PM

05/20/2014 10:43 AM

LAWRENCE — The college basketball offseason is getting shorter.

The NCAA on Friday passed a proposal that will allow men’s teams to begin practice two weeks earlier than in the past. Programs will now be able to conduct 30 practices in the six weeks before the first regular-season game, while in the past, those practices were folded into a four-week period before the first game.

As a result, college teams will be allowed to hold their Midnight Madness season kickoffs as early as Friday, Sept. 27 — 42 days before the date that teams can officially play regular-season games.

That doesn’t mean all programs will be holding Midnight Madness in September. Kansas coach Bill Self said last week that, if the new schedule passed, he still expected KU to hold its annual “Late Night in the Phog” event on its traditional date in October, which generally falls four weeks before the Jayhawks’ first regular-season game. KU will open the regular season this year against Louisiana Monroe on Friday, Nov. 8.

“It wouldn’t affect Late Night for us,” Self said. “Because what we’ll do, we’ll pick a time that coincides with what we want best, even if it’s after the first practice.

“We’ll still do it the exact same way.”

The NCAA, in a release, said it instituted the change to provide a more “flexible preseason practice schedule that allows practice days and off days instead of the current schedule that leads to practice occurring every possible day.”

Self said he was in favor of the change, in part, because it will allow his players to become more acclimated to the rigors of practice.

“I’m in favor because of this: Injuries,” Self said, “Because right now, you try to cram everything into a small amount of time.”

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