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Pac-12 announces conference-only play for several fall sports

The move allows for in-house guidelines on COVID-19 care, prevention and protection

California v Stanford Photo by David Madison/Getty Images

The Pac-12 followed suit from some other big-name conferences, namely the Big Ten, when they announced that several fall sports will play a conference-only schedule this fall.

While there is still no guarantee that any sports happen at all at the collegiate level in 2020, the hope of bringing in just a Pac-12 conference-only schedule of play allows for closer monitoring, stricter guidelines and better protection of the student-athletes that take part in each sport. It’s a step in the right direction, but continued signs keep pushing optimism aside for all sports this fall, let alone a college football season.

This is still a developing story as more details are said to be released no later than July 31, but the statement from the Pac-12 is here:

The Pac-12 CEO Group announced today that the fall season for several Pac-12 sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, would schedule Conference-only games, and that it is delaying the start of mandatory athletic activities, until a series of health and safety indicators, which have recently trended in a negative direction, provided sufficient positive data to enable a move to a second phase of return-to-play activities. The CEO Group made clear that it hopes to play football and all other fall sports provided that it can meet the health and safety needs of its student-athletes and obtain appropriate permissions from state and local health authorities. Today’s decision will result in the start dates for the impacted sports being delayed. The decision is effective immediately across all Pac-12 member universities and was made following a meeting of the Pac-12 CEO Group earlier today.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “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.”

“Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student-athletes, and we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront,” said Michael Schill, Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and President of the University of Oregon.

Pac-12 student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the coming academic year because of safety concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.

The Pac-12 has developed a series of potential fall sport scheduling models including Conference-only schedules and delayed season starts. Details on Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31.