The Big Sky Conference’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will compete in a 16-game conference schedule during the 2020-21 season, the conference office announced Friday. The conference’s Presidents’ Council approved the modification that was recommended by the league’s Conference Council, which is composed of the member schools’ faculty athletics representatives, athletic directors and senior woman administrators.
All teams previously played 20 league games — two against each conference opponent. The conference schedules for the upcoming 2020-21 season will be announced at a later date.
“This one-year adjustment to our conference basketball schedules is an appropriate measure that delivers significant cost savings to our member institutions while providing our basketball programs with more flexibility in their non-conference scheduling,” Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “I applaud our schools’ leaders for striking the right balance between providing opportunities for our student-athletes to compete while recognizing the need to make changes for the upcoming year.”
All 11 men’s teams and all 11 women’s teams will still advance to the Big Sky tournament, to be held for the third consecutive year at CenturyLink Arena in Boise. The neutral-site tournament will run from March 8-13, 2021.
The 2020-21 conference season will tip off on or after New Year’s Eve. The previously approved 20-game conference schedules were set to begin with two games in early December and resume after Christmas.
Geographic proximity will be one of the criteria used to determine which six opponents each school plays twice and which four opponents each school plays once. Each institution can determine whether it will replace the lost conference games with non-conference matchups.
Friday’s announcement was not the first regarding the Big Sky and cost-saving schedule adjustments.
On May 11, the league announced modifications to the conference schedules and championship tournaments of multiple sports, most notably the elimination of the 2020 Big Sky soccer tournament.