For the last few weeks, much of the college football world has seemed pretty resigned to the sport getting pushed back some amount. For those who are hanging their hats on football being back this fall, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has some optimism for you.
Scott recently spoke to Jon Wilner of The Mercury News about issues facing his league. For numerous reasons, college football season seems unlikely if full student bodies aren’t back on campus. So far, most major FBS football schools have sad that their plan is to bring people back this fall, pending new information on the spread of COVID-19.
Three major factors have Scott feeling more optimistic than he was a week ago, he tells Wilner. The first is the announcement of the NFL schedule. The league built its schedule so that early week games can be moved to the back of the season, but overall it is pretty optimistic that it will be able to play this fall. He also cited a lack of “pushback from government officials” after the release.
The other major positives: the Pac-12 schools’ intentions to open campuses for their fall semesters, and positive updates from the Pac-12’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee. “Scott said information provided by the group with regard to necessary levels of testing, tracing and mitigation on campuses left him ‘feeling like there’s a good chance we’ll get there,'” Wilner writes. Everything is currently still up in the air, but hearing a Power Five conference commissioner optimistic is definitely a decent sign.
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) May 8, 2020
One of the other major debates occurring right now is if leagues will move forward without member schools. Some have indicated that it is possible, though Scott isn’t concerned about the Pac-12 having to figure that out.
Might we see the Pac-11 … or the Pac-9?
“We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there, but I don’t expect that,” he said.
Scott said he has spoken with each president/chancellor individually since the shutdown began and believes there is a commitment to move forward as one.
The schools, he added, were unified in their decision to suspend organized team activities, and he expects uniformity with the decision to ramp back up.
Last week, 247Sports ranked six different options that are being floated by college football officials, ranging from starting the season on time to no football at all from 2020-21. For a while, it has seemed like we were in the “delay until October” to “delay until Spring” range, but Scott is definitely in the more optimistic realm of things here, even with his league being in an area of the country that has been more aggressive on combating COVID-19.