Midnight Madness starting earlier? It might happen

Pushing up the start of the practice season doesn't mean more time in the gym for players. (Getty Images)

College basketball's offseason could be shortening.

The informative John Infante, he of the Bylaw Blog, passed along word this weekend that some legislation could go through that would move up the start of college basketball's first practice. As it stands, the NCAA permits teams to start formally playing on Oct. 15 of each year. That date could get bumped up by a few weeks, snuggling into September.

The Legislative Council -- a group whose power includes deciding what rules go into effect for Division I sports -- is proposing teams be able to practice as a group, with coaches, earlier in order to better adapt for the season ahead.

Hmm. Too soon? Infante explains.

This was to ensure that the start of practice would fall on a Friday for Midnight Madness events, rather than on a Sunday which it would have without the change. Women's basketball has had this rule for a couple of years. It basically moves the start of practice up two weeks, but requires two days off per week before the first game. This creates a period of acclimatization rather than the abrupt jump from 8 hours per week straight to 20 hours per week with just one day off.

In essence, the players wouldn't be drastically upping their practice time. Instead, this is seen as the natural segue from offseason, informal workouts to full-blown learning/practice time with the program. But it won't be as intense or heavy as a mid-November practice schedule. This doesn't mean most players will spend any more time in the gym than they already do.

The proposal also includes a separate, smaller side proposal that would allow teams to begin practice at any point on the first allowed day of the season. Currently, the practice has to begin at 5 p.m. or later on the earnest opening to the season. (This could allow teams more flexibility to have a true Midnight Madness -- at midnight -- if they wanted.)

"The rule creates a flexible preseason practice schedule that allows practice days and off days instead of the current schedule that leads to practice occurring every possible day," according to the NCAA. "The more flexible approach provides coaches with the ability to determine how to use practice opportunities."

The Board of Directors will have the choice to approve or deny this change on May 2. If no strikes are taken against it, the new season timeline will be in effect for the 2013-14 season.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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