One of the most anticipated days of August for many fans of WCC basketball is the annual release of the Conference’s upcoming men’s and women’s basketball schedules. Well, they’re here, and they look different than the past few years. The most obvious change is this year we’ll be playing the double round robin schedule over nine weeks instead of 10. This means that there will be no byes during WCC play; each team will play 18 games over 18 dates.
Why the change? With the way the calendar falls, we are in year two of a three-year stretch in which a traditional 10-week schedule would have us starting WCC play before Christmas. After beginning on December 21 last season, our coaches and athletic directors decided it was best to amend the schedule this season and next to play over nine weeks.
The domino effect of playing the schedule over nine weeks is that we don’t have our traditional “travel pairs” this year. Because the Conference has five pairs, it is impossible to maintain the “travel pairs” model over a nine-week schedule. Removal of travel pairs opens up the likelihood for weeks in which a team is home on Thursday but away on Saturday, or vice versa.
A major consideration when creating the schedule was minimizing missed class time for student-athletes, particularly regarding Thursday games. To that end, all 20 teams have either four or five Thursday road games. Other considerations included:
We work within the guidelines established by our Executive Council (made up of athletic directors, senior woman administrators, and faculty athletic reps) and Presidents to build each season’s schedule. The process begins in April around the Final Four, and concludes in early August. Each summer, we work with an independent scheduling group to run models based on our guidelines and the considerations above to review the available options given our restraints. That group creates schedules for other conferences such as the BIG EAST, Pac-12, and Atlantic-10, as well as the NBA and WNBA. This year, we went through 12 schedule iterations to come up with the most equitable models possible.
Ultimately, the men’s and women’s schedules are approved by our Basketball Cabinet (comprised of EC members), confirming they meet the guidelines established by our membership, and then released to the public shortly thereafter.