The Arizona Wildcats will no longer have to wait until mid-October to kick off full basketball practices.
The NCAA now allows college men's teams to start practicing six weeks before their first game, which for UA translates to Sept. 27 (the Wildcats' season opener is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 8 against a team to be announced).
However, teams will only be allowed to practice a maximum of 30 times during that six-week period. That average of five days per week is basically one day less than UA practiced before, when the Wildcats typically squeezed in six days of workouts under the NCAA's 20-hour weekly maximum.
Effectively, this all means that the Wildcats can now spread out their preseason work and not have to cram so much into what has been two weeks of intense practices before exhibition play begins.
"We haven't really talked about it yet, but I think we’ll probably build up a little more" and practice more as October goes on, said Ryan Reynolds, UA's director of basketball operations.
Women's teams have already had the rule, with some practicing Monday through Friday and taking the weekend off. The UA men, however, often practice on Saturdays if there are recruits in town.
All this could also move up the Red-Blue scrimmage, which used to be held most often the weekend after the first full week after practices began (partly so Wildcat recruiting targets wouldn't have conflicts if they are invited to other schools' "Madness" type ceremonies during the previous weekend).
UA prefers to hold Red-Blue during the same weekend as a home football game -- suggesting it could be Oct. 20, after the Oct. 19 UA-Utah game -- but the volleyball can factor into the planning and the volleyball schedule is not yet set.
Reynolds said there is no tentative date yet for the Red-Blue game and it is also not known yet if UA will play two full exhibition games or play just one exhibition game and hold a private scrimmage. The Wildcats don't have to play two exhibitions because their home-schedule quota will be met with two NIT Tip-Off games and seven other nonconference games.
Here's what we know about UA's basketball schedules for next season and beyond.
Today, we also had a look at Angelo Chol's decision in the context of UA transfers in the Sean Miller era.
Chol helped push Jeff Goodman's transfer list up to 360.
Also in NCAA news, the sliding scale for admissions will remain. Part of the rationale, the NCAA said, was that the penalty APR (the measure of retention and eligibility) has been moved up to 930.
Arizona's last APR score was 975, well above the penalty line, and it should remain safe when it is recalculated this spring despite three 2011-12 early departures because Josiah Turner and Kyryl Natyazhko both signed pro contracts and thus will not count against the Wildcats.
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! wrote about at Turner's turbulent year since he left UA.
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