As conference play opens in the land of Big Ten basketball only two days after Christmas, conference officials are reportedly considering a drastic scheduling change.
Per a report from Brendan Quinn of MLive.com, the Big Ten is planning to move the beginning of conference play to early or mid-December for next season to accommodate the Big Ten Tournament being played a week earlier than usual at Madison Square Garden.
According to (Big Ten senior associate commissioner Mark) Rudner, barring any unforeseen changes, each league team will play two games (one home, one away) in early/mid-December next season. Teams will then be off between Christmas and New Year’s, then play two games a week for eight weeks with no byes, leading up to the Big Ten Tournament.
Quinn’s story contains the full details of the reasons behind the change, but the crux of the issue is that conference coaches have also petitioned to keep the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day free of games so players can have the holidays off. That, combined with the week lost to moving the Big Ten Tournament, takes enough time out of the traditional conference schedule that the Big Ten will need to get creative in finding time for games.
If the new format works for everybody, Quinn reports that league officials might consider making the change permanent and that it could even prompt the NCAA to consider moving up the beginning of its basketball season.