With the Big Ten officially announcing it will begin play in late October, the Pac-12 is the only holdout from the Power Five conferences.
Shortly after the Big Ten originally said it would be postponing fall sports back on August 11, the Pac-12 did the same. Now, it seems like the league could be changing its mind, but there are bridges that must be crossed before it can start playing games.
For one, while promising COVID-19 antigen testing might make it possible for the Pac-12 to play, the conference’s member institutions in California and Oregon must first be cleared by local public health officials.
“At this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement this morning. “We are hopeful that our new daily testing capability can help satisfy public health official approvals in California and Oregon to begin contact practice and competition.”
Further complicating matters are the devastating wildfires which have engulfed California, Oregon and other parts of the West Coast and have made athletic competition potentially unsafe.
“We are equally closely monitoring the devastating fires and air quality in our region at this time,” Scott said. “We are eager for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play this season, as soon as it can be done safely and in accordance with public health authority approvals.”
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott statement: pic.twitter.com/veX3nGEODW
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) September 16, 2020
There’s no doubt that the Pac-12 wants to play. The conference is just facing several daunting obstacles at the moment.
Hopefully, they will be able to get on the field at some point this fall.