Conference USA officials have given final approval to a new format for the league’s men’s and women’s basketball schedules that will have teams play Friday and Saturday at the same site against a single opponent.
The league unveiled the format late last month but originally planned to play on Thursdays and Saturdays.
C-USA has yet to formally announce the change. A league source confirmed to the Denton Record-Chronicle on Tuesday afternoon that the switch has been approved.
The league will require that there are at least 21 hours between tip times, preventing teams from playing Friday night and early Saturday afternoon.
C-USA officials arrived at the plan after consulting with the league’s coaches and athletic directors. The conference’s presidents then approved the plan for an 18-game conference slate.
Each of the league’s teams will play four two-game series at home and another four two-game series on the road. Teams also will play a home-and-home series against an opponent the league designates as a rival.
The chief concern for C-USA officials was finding a way to play two games per week while cutting down on exposure for its athletes while they travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
One key selling point for the Friday-Saturday format was that teams will be able to play twice after being tested for the coronavirus before Friday’s opener in each series. The league would have been forced to find a place to test its teams while they were on the road under the Thursday-Saturday format. The Thursday-Saturday format would have required players to be tested twice.
The league also has instituted a rule that if a team has seven players available, it is required to play.
C-USA announced its league slate last week. UNT’s home-and-home series will be against Rice.
The Mean Green will face Western Kentucky, UAB, UTEP and Louisiana Tech in two-game series at home. They will travel to UTSA, Old Dominion, Southern Miss and Marshall.
The UNT women’s team will play the same opponents at the opposite sites throughout league play.
UNT men’s coach Grant McCasland said he was just happy his team would have a chance to play when C-USA announced its original Thursday-Saturday format.
“At this point, having seen the challenges of playing football across the country, I’m happy the conference is giving us the chance to play all of our games,” McCasland said. “Our guys just want to compete.”