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By The Sports Xchange May 3, 2013 3:30 PM
Midnight Madness is coming earlier starting this year. The NCAA announced that men's basketball teams can start practice two weeks earlier than in the past. Teams can begin practicing six weeks before their first regular season game, two weeks earlier than they were previously allowed. The decision, which takes effect this fall, was finalized by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors on Thursday. The measure had been tabled for a full year before finally approving it. Another proposal that eliminated requiring the first practice to begin no earlier than 5 p.m. was also adopted. The rule change brings the men's practice start date closer to women's teams. With teams able to start practice as early as late September, the new rule creates more flexibility for teams to spread out their maximum allowable number of 30 preseason practices days. A significant number of teams play their season-opener the second Friday of November. The new rule that allows them to start practicing 42 days before then (the original proposal was 40 days). That allows for March Madness events to be held on a Friday instead of a Sunday.