A10 Basketball Set to Return to the Bronx

NCAA approves Nov. 25 as revised start date for season



Fordham Basketball is set to continue its winter season. Above, Joel Soriano, Fordham College at Rose Hill, ’23, makes a layup.


In two weeks’ time, basketball players will finally retake the court at Rose Hill. On Sept. 16, the NCAA Division I Council voted to move forward with the 2020-21 college basketball season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Practices will begin on Oct. 14, with the season officially starting on Nov. 25.

This new plan represents a 15-day delayed start to the season, but also gives the NCAA, conferences and schools more time to prepare for a very unique season. The vote will also reopen gyms across the country, which, like the Rose Hill Gymnasium, have been shuttered since students returned to campus in late August.

Student men’s basketball manager Garrett Kuhlman, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill ’22, said that the team was excited and grateful to return to the court. He went on to say, “Amid the COVID pandemic, I know the guys can’t wait to get out there and compete this year.”

In a press release, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said, “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.”

The decision also determined new scheduling guidelines for a revised season. Men’s and women’s basketball programs can now schedule up to 25 regular season games (or 24 and a three-game special event in the case of men, and 23 and a four-game special event in the case of women). In both cases, this is a reduction of four games from the usual maximum number allowed to compensate for the lost 15 days.

Beyond scheduling logistics, there are still many questions regarding the season to come, and it seems that the solutions to these problems will differ by the school and area. 

In Fordham’s case, there is currently no set schedule for either team. The Atlantic 10 (A10) conference has released the Rams’ scheduled opponents for men’s and women’s conference play in 2021, but there are no set dates for those games. In addition, opponents for non-conference games in November and December have not been released.

Most importantly, Fordham administration has not yet determined attendance policies for fans at home games. For an extremely brief period last spring, several sporting events took place without fans before the season was eventually canceled, but there has not yet been a need for long-term sporting event attendance restrictions. Even if fans are permitted to sit courtside, Fordham will still likely follow phased reopening guidelines set forth by the state of New York.

The NCAA vote may have only contributed to the persistent uncertainty in college sports, but Fordham basketball players and coaches are rejoicing all the same: They have a season again.

The teams don’t have much more than preliminary unscheduled matchups to look forward to at the moment, but that’s more than enough after last year’s disappointments. In separate cancellations, the men’s team lost the chance at a run in the A10 Tournament, while the women’s team was unable to compete in the 2020 Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).

“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.” Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball

For the men, Kuhlman said that “goals going in are to not only compete, but also to improve on last year’s success later in the season moving forward.” Meanwhile, Stephanie Gaitley, the successful women’s basketball coach, will be preparing an extremely promising team for another A10 championship.

After a championship victory in 2019, last season’s team fell in a heartbreaking A10 Tournament semifinal defeat to Virginia Commonwealth University, ending their 2020 season. Any chance at retribution in the WNIT was dashed by the pandemic. 

In an interview with Amsterdam News, Gaitley said, “There’s going to be nothing sweeter than raising a trophy in spite of all the adversity. Let’s get after it.”