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Pac-12 Announces Major Step Toward Potential Return To Football

A member of Cals football team stretching next to a Pac-12 football logo.

BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 10: A member of the California Golden Bears warms up prior to facing the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on September 10, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Pac-12 won't be playing football right away this fall. But the conference commissioner Larry Scott announced on Thursday a major step in the potential return of football.

The Pac-12 made the decision last month to delay the 2020 football season until next year. It's still unclear when the season would actually begin, though. But most speculate it could begin as soon as January of 2021.

Despite the decisions by the Pac-12 as well as the Big Ten - which also decided to delay the fall season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic - the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are moving forward with the fall season as planned. But the Pac-12 announced a major new step on Thursday afternoon in the potential return of football.

Each school within the Pac-12 will undergo "conference-wide daily rapid-results testing" in an effort to limit COVID-19 outbreaks. The conference has partnered this groundbreaking testing protocol initiative with Quidel.

"Pac-12 first college athletics conference to offer a conference-wide daily rapid-results testing regimen to limit spread of COVID-19 and increase the safety of sports activities by significantly decreasing the likelihoodthat anyone with infection will participate in sport practice or competition," the conference announced on Thursday.

Daily testing is an absolute game-changer for the Pac-12. This could ensure the 2020 football season is played in its entirety, even if it still begins in January.

By all accounts, the Pac-12 still intends to delay the fall season until next year.

But Thursday's news is a major step for collegiate athletics as they look to maneuver their way through the COVID-19 pandemic.