NCAA grants blanket waiver for men's basketball on multiteam events

The NCAA has issued a "blanket waiver" on multiteam events to provide opportunities for programs to complete their schedules amid the challenges attached to the pandemic.

Per the NCAA's announcement on Friday, teams can participate in two multiteam events (MTE) if they don't exceed the maximum of 27 games. Two teams from the same league can compete in the same event and in a bracketed tournament, and they can play each other in the championship game.

The goal is to help programs shape their schedules as funding, testing protocols and other obstacles have complicated plans for programs around the country.

"The committee's action today acknowledges the scheduling challenges faced by our member schools in conducting a college basketball season in the midst of the ongoing pandemic," Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball said in a statement. "This flexibility will allow teams and event operators to adjust schedules as needed to provide the best possible opportunity for college athletes to experience a full basketball season."

Last month, the Division I Council announced that teams hoping to qualify for the NCAA tournament must play at least 13 games against Division I opponents without exceeding 27 contests. At the time, it said teams could enter just one MTE to complete their schedules. Friday's announcement, however, added another MTE and increased the options for organizers.

Teams can now play three games over 15 days at one event, a measure that adds extra time for any COVID-related complications. If an event has been moved because of the pandemic, a team can play in that event even if it's their second time participating within a four-year stretch. Friday's announcement also added flexibility to allow teams to play a different number of games in the same event if a COVID-related complication demands a cancellation for one or more teams.

On Friday, officials with the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, announced plans to feature more than 30 teams in various tournaments starting on Nov. 25, the first day of the season.