On a day when college football applied one more mismatched patch to its 2020 eyesore of a quilt, college basketball presented a relative work of art—a season plan that aspires to include everyone and sets broad-based national parameters.

The difference between two sports contested by many of the same schools is striking. It underscores what can be done with centralized NCAA leadership and cohesive conferences (basketball), as opposed to five oligarchies that don’t much care whether the whole of the enterprise survives as long as each gets their own (football).

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA vice president for basketball, has been the unifying presence that football has lacked over the past six months. He’s immersed himself in the workings of leagues from coast to coast, brainstorming a framework for how the season should look.

“We wanted to build consensus and consider all perspectives,” Gavitt told Sports Illustrated. “We had the benefit of time, watching other sports starting and learning from them. It’s not perfect, and we weren’t even shooting for perfection. But I do hope we’ve achieved a responsible and unified plan to start college basketball.”

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