Pac-12 could follow Big Ten’s 2020 college football reversal
When the Big Ten announced in August it was postponing its football season, the Pac-12 wasn’t far behind.
They may take the same path to reviving their seasons.
After the Big Ten announced on Wednesday it was reversing its decision and plans to kick off in October, the Pac-12 could soon follow their lead and join the rest of the power five conferences in playing football this fall through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott had said early on Wednesday that the league still did not have approval from state or local public health officials in California and Oregon to start contact practices. But those states’ governors said later in the day there were no restrictions on their level, opening the door for the Pac-12 to find a path toward playing this fall after all.
“The Pac-12 welcomes today’s statements by Governor [Gavin] Newsom of California and Governor [Kate] Brown of Oregon that state public health officials will allow for contact practice and return to competition, and that there are no state restrictions on our ability to play sports in light of our adherence to strict health and safety protocols and stringent testing requirements, including our recently announced partnership with Quidel which will enable daily rapid results testing,” Scott said in a statement Wednesday night.
Scott said the Pac-12’s schools in California and Oregon — USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon St. — would “individually and immediately” reach out to local county public health officials to determine if they could get the same clearance to resume contact practices and games.
The Pac-12 CEO Group is set to meet Friday to talk about its options, according to ESPN, but Scott said Wednesday on SportsCenter the best-case scenario would be six weeks of practice and then starting the season in late October or early November.
“We still need approval from the local health officials in the counties in California and Oregon, but we’re going to push the envelope,” Scott said Wednesday night on ESPN. “Our student-athletes want to play, our coaches want to play, our schools want to do so if we can do so safely and today was a big step forward toward that.”
The Big Ten is scheduled to begin its season on Oct. 24 with eight games in eight weeks before a conference championship on Dec. 19 — the day before the College Football Playoff is set to make its selections.
Scott said the Pac-12 was “behind the eight ball” in regards to being included in the playoff.
“But we determined early on, we’re only gonna play if we can do it safely and in a way that’s consistent with our medical professionals’ comfort level — that we’re not increasing the spread of this virus by playing football,” he said on SportsCenter. “So no doubt, we are behind others. But if we get the approvals rapidly, then we will be able to have a very meaningful season and be in the hunt.”
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