The Pac-12 is joining the Big Ten in its handling of the current public health crisis. The conference just announced that it will move to a conference-only schedule for fall sports, including football.
The move was expected over the last few days, after the Big Ten’s came down. Nicole Auerbach and Bruce Feldman broke the news that this announcement was coming earlier this evening. Even so, it is another blow against the kind of college football season that we’ve come to expect.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the conference’s release about the decision. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”
The Pac-12 is also delaying the start of mandatory team activities. Athletes who choose to sit out the season for precautionary reasons will have their scholarships and aid protected by the league and “remain in good standing with their teams,” the league says. That is a nice touch by conference leadership.
Pac-12 CEO Group announces decision to schedule conference-only play for several Fall sports & to delay move toward mandatory athletics activities.
Full announcement ➡️ https://t.co/A6PNFSeZ5d
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) July 10, 2020
On Thursday, Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne reiterated that the plan was to move forward with this season’s scheduled game against USC. With this decision, that game will now be off the schedule.
Among the other major non-conference games this appears to eliminate include Arizona at Texas Tech, Cal vs. TCU, Colorado at Texas A&M, Oregon State at Oklahoma State, Stanford at Notre Dame, USC vs. Notre Dame, and Washington State vs. Houston. Oregon vs. Ohio State and Washington vs. Michigan were already off the board with the Big Ten announcement.
So far, the Pac-12 and Big Ten are the only two Power Five leagues to make this decision. It has been reported that the ACC will follow suit, but the league announced today that no decision would be made until the end of the month. The Big 12 and SEC are holding firm on their plans to play a full fall season, though teams will now have to work to find last minute replacement games for many of the ones listed above.