Big Sky will reduce the men's and women's basketball conference hours to 16 games for each team during the 2020-21 season, the conference announced Friday.
The change will remove four games from the 20-game round robin played each of the previous two seasons by the 11-school league, which includes the University of Northern Colorado. Finance played at least a small part in the decision, according to a statement from conference commissioner Tom Wistrcill.
"This one-year adjustment to our conference basketball schedules is an appropriate measure that offers significant cost savings to our member institutions while providing our basketball programs with greater flexibility in their programming outside of the conference," he said. Wistrcill in a press release. "I applaud the leaders of our schools for striking the right balance between providing opportunities for our student athletes to compete while also recognizing the need to make changes for the coming year."
The conference season is slated to begin on New Year's Eve, and the calendar will be released at a later date. Geography will help decide which teams play each other twice and which teams play each other once in the conference. It is up to each school to decide whether or not to replace their lost conference games with clashes outside of the conference.
The conference tournaments will still include all 11 schools and will be held at the CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho for the third consecutive year. Those are scheduled for March 8 and 13, 2021.