SOMERSET, N.J. – Northeast Conference Commissioner Noreen Morris today announced amended men’s and women’s basketball regular season and NEC Tournament formats for the 2020-21 season. The formats were unanimously adopted by the NEC Council of Presidents.
The regular season scheduling model was built in consultation with conference administrators and the NEC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee. The schedule was designed to meet COVID testing guidelines, and drastically mitigate travel and the risk of exposure to help ensure the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and support staff.
2020-21 NEC basketball regular season scheduling format info:
- 18-game, double round-robin regular season has been retained
- Men’s and women’s schedules will be mirrored
- Aside from contests vs. travel partners, games will be played on back-to-back days against the same opponent at the same site, primarily in a Thursday/Friday format
- Schools will play their travel partner home-and-home
- Conference play will begin December 8 with each school playing three or four times in December
- Following the holiday break, the NEC schedule will resume on January 7
- Six mid-week makeup dates have been incorporated into the schedule
The scheduling of non-conference games will be at the discretion of each institution.
“To create a safe and responsible return to competition, the NEC Council of Presidents and conference administrators worked diligently to develop a regular season schedule model that provides us with the best opportunity to play a full 18-game league slate,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. “By implementing rigorous testing protocols, removing the day off between games, creating safe playing environments and ensuring maximum flexibility in the case of competitive interruptions, we have set the stage for our basketball student-athletes to return to the court and enjoy the spirit and excitement of NEC competition.”
The 2021 NEC Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournament fields have been reduced from eight teams to four teams with games being contested at the home of the higher seed. The men’s semifinals will take place on Saturday, March 6 and the championship on Tuesday, March 9. The women’s semis are slated for Wednesday, March 10 and the final on Sunday, March 14.
“We engaged in extensive discussions with the NEC Council and conference administrators on the most optimal tournament format to ensure the crowning of NEC men’s and women’s basketball champions next March. On the front end, there was consensus to extend the regular season and build in makeup dates in order to play as many regular season games as possible. There was also a strong desire to minimize the financial impact on schools, reduce postseason travel and remove one layer of potential exposure that may impact our ability to safely complete the tournament. Ultimately, the four-team format made the most sense in the short term as we anticipate a return to the normal NEC Tournament experience next season.”
The NEC will continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape, along with updated federal, state, local and campus guidelines, and make in-season updates to the schedule and game environment protocols as necessary.
The NEC television schedule will be announced at a later date.