The 2019–20 NCAA Division I men's basketball season began on November 5, 2019. The first tournament was the 2K Sports Classic and the season will end with the Final Four in Atlanta on April 6, 2020. Practices officially began in late September.
On June 5, 2019, the NCAA announced that its Playing Rules Oversight Panel had approved a suite of rules changes that its Men's Basketball Rules Committee had recommended the previous month. These changes will take effect in 2019–20 for all NCAA divisions unless otherwise indicated.
The three-point line was moved from its prior distance of 20 feet 9 inches (6.32 m) from the center of the basket to the FIBA standard of 6.75 meters (22 ft 2 in). The NCAA published diagrams on June 17, 2019 reflecting the new three-point line, including its distance from the sidelines near the corners of the court. In the corners, the three-point line is exactly 401⁄8 inches (102 cm) from the sidelines, resulting in the shortest three-point distance being essentially identical to the FIBA standard of 6.6 meters (21 ft 8 in). This change takes immediate effect in Division I, but will be delayed to 2020–21 for Divisions II and III.
On offensive rebounds in the frontcourt, the shot clock is now reset to 20 seconds instead of the full 30.
Any derogatory on-court comments regarding a player's race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability result in a flagrant-2 technical foul and automatic ejection.
Two new rules apply during the last two minutes of regulation and the last two minutes of any overtime period:
Coaches are allowed to call live-ball timeouts. Previously, coaches were prohibited from calling live-ball timeouts at any time.
The list of calls that can be reviewed via instant replay expanded to include basket interference and goaltending.
May 9, 2019 – The NCAA announced its Academic Progress Rate (APR) sanctions for the 2019–20 school year. A total of nine programs in eight sports were declared ineligible for postseason play due to failure to meet the required APR benchmark, including the following Division I men's basketball team:
June 3, 2019 – The Sun Belt Conference, which a year earlier had announced a series of radical changes in its men's basketball scheduling format that would have taken effect with the 2019–20 season, announced that it had placed those changes on hold. The Sun Belt will proceed with one element of the plan, namely an expansion of the conference schedule to 20 games. In its announcement, the conference noted that the original plan had been based on data related to the RPI, an NCAA tournament selection metric that had been replaced by the significantly different NET effective with the 2019 tournament.
June 27 – The Big East and UConn jointly announced that the school would join the Big East; though the official announcements did not specify a time, it was expected that the Huskies would become members in 2020.
July 26 – Multiple media reports indicated that UConn and The American had reached a buyout agreement that will lead to UConn joining the Big East in July 2020. The exit fee was reportedly $17 million.
The NCAA issued a set of rules that outlined new certification requirements for agents who sought to represent college underclassmen who declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft but wish to maintain college eligibility while evaluating their draft prospects. The new requirements were that the agents hold a bachelor's degree; have been certified by the NBA players' union, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), for at least three years; hold professional liability insurance; and pass an in-person exam administered each November at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. The bachelor's degree requirement was immediately dubbed the "Rich Paul Rule", as it was widely viewed as preventing Paul, who represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, and Draymond Green, among others, from representing underclassmen because he does not have a bachelor's degree.
August 12 – After widespread criticism by media and NBA players, the NCAA amended the so-called "Rich Paul Rule" regarding agent certification. Agents such as Paul who do not hold bachelor's degrees but meet all other NCAA requirements will be allowed to represent underclassmen if they are in good standing with the NBPA.
California governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law, which upon taking effect in 2023 will prohibit public colleges and universities in the state from punishing their athletes for earning endorsement income. The bill places the state in direct conflict with the NCAA's current business model, which prohibits college athletes from receiving such income. At the time the bill was signed, several other states were proposing similar laws.
October 4 – Officials at the University of St. Thomas, a Minnesota school that will be expelled from its longtime athletic home of the NCAA Division IIIMinnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in 2021, announced that the school had received an invitation to join the Summit League upon its MIAC departure. In order for St. Thomas to directly transition to the Summit, it must receive a waiver of an NCAA rule stating that Division III schools can only transition to Division II.
October 29 – The NCAA board of governors voted unanimously to begin the process of changing institutional rules so that college athletes can profit from their names, images, and likenesses, while still maintaining a distinction between college and professional sports. The proposal calls for each of the three NCAA divisions to draft new rules consistent with this mandate, with a target date of January 2021.
November 8 – The NCAA ruled incoming Memphis freshman star and preseason All-American James Wiseman ineligible because his family had received moving expenses from current head coach Penny Hardaway in 2017, a year before Hardaway was hired by the school. Despite his not having been employed by Memphis at the time, the NCAA considered Hardaway to be a Memphis booster because the former NBA star had donated large amounts to the school's athletic program more than a decade earlier. Memphis and Wiseman received an injunction to halt the NCAA's ruling from a local judge, and Wiseman played in the Tigers' season opener later that day.
November 12 – The Western Athletic Conference officially announced Tarleton State's entry into the league effective July 1, 2020.
November 14 – In the next major development in the Wiseman story, he dropped his lawsuit against the NCAA, and Memphis declared him ineligible and withdrew him from play. The school also announced it would seek reinstatement from the NCAA.
January 21 – The Kansas State–Kansas game was marred by a bench-clearing brawl. In the final seconds of a game that Kansas would win 81–60, State's DaJuan Gordon went up for a layup that was blocked by Kansas' Silvio De Sousa. After the block, De Sousa stood over Gordon, leading to an altercation that escalated into a bench-clearing melee. During the brawl, De Sousa and several other players threw punches, and De Sousa held a chair above his head until it was taken from him by a Kansas assistant. Kansas did not wait for the Big 12 Conference to take action, announcing the next day that De Sousa would be suspended indefinitely, pending the Big 12 review of the incident.
January 22 – The Big 12 issued suspensions for four players involved in the previous night's Kansas State–Kansas brawl. De Sousa drew the longest suspension at 12 games. Kansas teammate David McCormack was suspended for 2 games, while Kansas State's James Love and Antonio Gordon were respectively banned for 8 and 3 games.
In addition, two existing Division I teams assumed new athletic identities.
After the 2018–19 school year, Long Island University (LIU) merged the athletic programs of its two main campuses—the Division I LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds and Division II LIU Post Pioneers—into a single program that now plays as the LIU Sharks. The Sharks inherited the Division I and Northeast Conference memberships of the Brooklyn campus, with some sports to be based in Brooklyn and others at the Post campus in Brookville, New York. Specific to basketball, LIU announced that the unified men's and women's teams in that sport would be based in Brooklyn.
On July 1, 2019, the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) announced that its athletic program, formerly known as the UMKC Kangaroos, would officially become the Kansas City Roos, with "Roos" having long been used as a short form of the former "Kangaroos" nickname.
Robert Morris moved into the new UPMC Events Center after playing last season at the Student Recreation and Fitness Center, a facility at the school's North Athletic Complex. The Colonials played their first game there on November 12, 2019 however the Colonials lost their first game in the new arena losing to crosstown rival Pitt 71–57.
This will be Liberty's final season playing games full-time at the Vines Center, home to the Flames since 1990. The school will open the adjoining Liberty Arena, with less than half of the capacity at Vines Center, for the 2020–21 season. The Vines Center will continue to be used for games in which attendance is expected to exceed 4,000.
Immediately after the 2018–19 season, Duquesne began an extensive renovation of the on-campus Palumbo Center. When the venue reopens, expected for the 2020–21 school year, it will be renamed UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, via a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the family foundation of late Duquesne star Chuck Cooper, the first African American selected in an NBA draft. At the time of announcement, the final capacity of the renovated venue had not been determined, but Duquesne's athletic director expected it to have about the same capacity as the pre-renovation Palumbo Center (4,390). Duquesne will split their home games between three venues in 2019–20: PPG Paints Arena, La Roche University's Kerr Fitness Center, and Robert Morris University's new UPMC Events Center.
An upset is a victory by an underdog team. In the context of NCAA Division I Men's Basketball this generally constitutes an unranked team defeating a team currently ranked In the Top 25. This list will highlight those upsets of ranked teams by unranked teams as well as upsets of #1 teams. Rankings are from the AP Poll.
Bold type indicates winning teams in "true road games"-i.e., those played on an opponent's home court (including secondary homes, such as Intrust Bank Arena for Wichita State).
Two teams changed coaches between their first practice and first game of the season; one change was permanent, while the other was planned to be temporary (which proved to be the case). Several other teams will change coaches during and after the season.
McCarty was initially placed on administrative leave on December 27 pending a Title IX investigation against him. Assistant coach Seltzer served as the interim coach of the Purple Aces during McCarty's initial absence. On January 21, Evansville fired McCarty following additional allegations of misconduct, and named former Butler/Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter, who had served as assistant coach under McCarty last season before resigning due to health problems, as the new head coach.
Hawaiʻi announced on November 6, two days before the Rainbow Warriors' season opener, that Ganot had taken a medical leave of absence, with top assistant Gerlufsen named as acting head coach. The school added that Ganot was expected to return to the program, but provided no details on his condition. Ganot returned to the Hawaiʻi sidelines on December 29.
Beilein, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein, had been hired from Division IILe Moyne after last season, but announced his resignation on October 24, 2019 for undisclosed personal reasons. The Purple Eagles named assistant Paulus as interim head coach for the 2019–20 season, and removed the interim tag on November 7, the day before the team's season opener.
McGrath was fired on January 13 after a 26–58 record in 2½ seasons at Wilmington, including starting the season 5−14 overall and 0–6 in CAA, and replaced by assistant Burke for the rest of the season.