How can UNC have 32 basketball games in their 2016-2017 regular season schedule?

I thought the absolute max was 31 and everywhere I check online it shows the max to be 31(1). This article explains this phenomenon:

Under the new rules [instituted in 2006], teams can play either 29 regular season games or 27 regular season games plus no more than four games in one multi-team tournament for a maximum of 31 games. Conference and other postseason tournaments do not count against the limit. Before the change, teams were limited to 28 games, with exempt multi-team events counting as one of those 28 contests.


2 Answers 2


It looks like the game against Chaminade is exempt from the 31 game maximum due to an NCAA rule about playing games in Hawaii.

Here is a link giving information about that.

The opener against Chaminade is in part made possible because of an NCAA rule regarding the University of Hawaii, which sometimes has trouble scheduling home games. NCAA rules permit a team playing in the Maui Inviational to play a game at Hawaii as essentially a "free" game that does not count against the maximum; that free game is why the Tar Heels can afford to play Division II Chaminade in the Maui opener.

And here is a link with the rule, although not from an NCAA source Once-in-Four-Years Exemption – Contests in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or Canada. Once every four years, an institution may exempt from its maximum contest limits a maximum of four contests during a single trip to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or Canada, either against or under the sponsorship of an active member institution located in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or Canada, by a member institution located outside the area in question.

  • 1
    +1. That explains the Wisconsin and Indiana schedules, because each of those teams also played in Hawaii this year and have 32 games.
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 25, 2017 at 20:03
  • I think it's also possible the ACC-Big Ten challenge game is being excluded ( Once-in-Three-Years Exemption – Conference Challenge Event). Either one is a possibility.
    – Joe
    Jan 25, 2017 at 21:22
  • Actually, I think it is either the ACC-Big Ten challenge, or the UHawaii game - not the Chaminade game. The Chaminade game is one of the Maui Invitational games itself, not an extra exception. UHawaii on the other hand was not part of the exception.
    – Joe
    Jan 25, 2017 at 21:24
  • Also not sure about your bylaws; they say 2013, but they seem more outdated than the ones I see from 2015 that suggest they were 2005 changes (consistent with what I've read elsewhere). The "once in four years Hawaii" exception was pre-2006, from what I've read, and was simplified in the 2006+ bylaws.
    – Joe
    Jan 25, 2017 at 21:37
  • @BenMiller Wisconsin has 31 games scheduled (the first game on that list was not an official game, and the MSU game is listed twice 2/25 and 2/26, but ESPN confirms that is a mistake).
    – Joe
    Jan 26, 2017 at 16:18

The game at the University of Hawaii (not Chaminade) on Nov. 18 is likely the source of the 32nd game. From the 2015-16 bylaws (the most recent I can find): Annual Exemptions

(f) Regular-Season Contest Against Alaska/Hawaii Member. One regular-season game in Hawaii or Alaska versus a member institution located in that state; (Adopted: 1/9/96 effective 8/1/96)

The game against Chaminade is part of the 4-game multi-team event exemption ( Qualifying Regular-Season Multiple-Team Event) for the Maui Invitational. Those three games, plus the "extra" game played earlier against Chatanooga, make up their four-game exemption.

H/t to GB11 for pointing the right direction (the right part of the bylaws).

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