The Patriot League Council of Presidents announced that men’s and women’s basketball will play conference games in 2021 beginning Jan. 2.
The league’s press release said competition will be contingent on Patriot League member schools being able to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and their communities.
The 10 Patriot League institutions will be divided into three mini-regional conferences, with an emphasis on geographic proximity, with teams playing four games against each opponent. The remaining conference games will be played outside of the mini schedule to complete a 16-game schedule.
The release said to reduce travel and overnight stays, schools will play against the same opponent on consecutive days, primarily Saturdays and Sundays, with a limited number of exceptions.
Army and Navy, meanwhile, the release said, will be able to pursue non-league competition.
“Because Army and Navy are unique in their environments and their missions within higher education, their pursuit of non-League competition, as considered appropriate by their respective superintendents, is permitted,” the release said.
The men’s Patriot League Tournament is scheduled to begin on March 6, while the women’s will begin on March 7. Both championships are scheduled to be held on March 14.
The Patriot League has canceled non-conference games due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Outside of basketball, the release said fall sports are supported in continuing to plan for spring competition, but did not outline a potential schedule.
The release said in order for fall sports competition to be conducted in the spring, there will be a reduced competitive schedule designed to meet the requirements to qualify for NCAA Championships, no overnight stays or air travel and reduced Patriot League brackets based on the sport.
As of now, fall sports teams are expected to return to campus for the spring semester the same time as the rest of the student body.
“The conduct of competition in all 24 league sports, including League Championships, will be contingent on the League and its member institutions being able to conduct competition in ways that protect health and the safety of student-athletes and their communities,” the press release said.
Additionally, the press release said the Council of Presidents approved the rescheduling of the 2021 Patriot League swimming and diving championship to April 21-24 at Bucknell University. The release said the league will continue to explore possible formats for the 2021 indoor track and field championships, scheduled for Feb. 27-28, and will make a decision in the coming weeks.