clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pac-12 cancels 2020 fall football season

New, 1 comment

The conference is aiming towards playing in the spring

Pac-12 Championship Game - Oregon v Utah Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Pac-12 has officially announced that the 2020 fall football season has been cancelled. According to Stadium’s Brett McMurphy, he was informed that official announcement was scheduled for Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott’s 1:30 PM PT press conference.

That means no rivalry games, no Apple Cup, no new name for the Oregon State-Oregon football game, no Pac-12 football.

The growing safety concerns and rising knowledge of the long-term impact of the coronavirus are ultimately what led to the cancellation of the Pac-12 football season this fall. It has been only hours since the Pac-12 had ‘an eye-opening experience’ after speaking with doctors who informed them of the link between myocarditis and COVID-19. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle often associated with viral infections and been linked closely to COVID-19. It is quoted to “come on suddenly and often with significant severity, resulting in an exceptionally high risk of death caused by cardiogenic shock (the heart’s inability to pump enough blood), fatal arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) and multiorgan failure,” according to the American Heart Association.

The conference said the vote was a unanimous vote to cancel the season this fall. All sports, all athletic competitions have been shut down until at the earliest January 1, 2021.


We all know why this has been done, it’s due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. It also came to a head this past Monday when Pac-12 presidents and chancellors had an ‘eye-opening’ experience when Pac-12 doctors informed them of the condition myocarditis. According to the doctors, Pac-12 officials were told of the linkage between the condition and COVID-19, especially in younger individuals.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle often associated with viral infections and been linked closely to COVID-19. It is quoted to “come on suddenly and often with significant severity, resulting in an exceptionally high risk of death caused by cardiogenic shock (the heart’s inability to pump enough blood), fatal arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) and multiorgan failure,” according to the American Heart Association.

The Big Ten became the first of the Power-5 Conferences to postpone the 2020 fall sports season, doing so at 2:45 PM ET, citing that their “primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” according to a statement from Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors.

Their decision included football as well as men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

Their goal at the Big Ten was to play those seasons in the spring.

Say what you will about the Pac-12, but the Big Ten showed their own troubles during this process. It was stated on Monday that they were cancelling their season, but due to public outrage, they backed off their word and then let us wonder for 24 hours before making the same decision ‘official’ and public.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel also stated that the conference had began to discuss what would happen if the season wasn’t played as late as Sunday night, but not any sooner.

With the Pac-12 and Big Ten officially done for in 2020, that’s now nearly the majority of the nation’s universities at the major college football level that have cancelled or postponed their seasons. The Pac-12, Big Ten, MAC and Mountain West as well as Independent Schools UConn and UMass and Conference-USA’s Old Dominion account for 52 of the 130 FBS teams.

The fate of the college football season happening in 2020 now relies on the Big 12’s decision as reportedly, the SEC is favoring a continuation of playing this fall, but will need the Big 12 to come with them.


The Pac-12’s cancellation, of course, comes just a few short weeks after they announced a conference-only schedule, consisting of 10 games for each of the 12 member universities.

Some notable quotes from the Pac-12 CEO Group press conference with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.

About the eligibility issue arising, Scott said: “We are strongly encouraging the NCAA to make decisions as quickly as possible about eligibility. If they don’t get to play a season, we’ll do what we can to get (retain) that year.”

About multiple scenarios, Scott said: “We did have eight-game scenarios starting in October, those were available to us. But as we looked at the projections and trends, we came to the conclusion, reluctantly, that there is a likelihood that nothing changes. We’ve been taking a measured approach, letting public health guidelines guide us.”

About basketball, Scott said: “We’ve got to go back to work with our working group, our specific basketball working group. Part of our decisions will come from what the NCAA decides on March Madness. It’s just one of the many things that we have to get to work on.”

Oregon President Michael Schill took on a heavy dosage of the opening discussions about the postponement.

“No. 1 consideration is health and safety of the student-athletes.”

“There are too many questions, too many concerns to begin contact sports.”

“Put a pause until 2021 and we’ll constantly be updating the data.”

“We’re science-based, we’re going to be looking at facts not just opinions.”

“We fully understand that this has had tremendous human impact. We have students that have dreamt of playing and that won’t be happening. We have families, we have coaches, we have all sorts of people that were hoping that we could do this. That’s one of the reasons that we’ve delayed the decision until now.”

“In the end, we’ve looked at the spread, which is increasing, we’ve looked at the cardiac risks, and there’s too much involved there. We’re going to be trying to play in the spring.”

About the liability issue that arose, Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said: “Our responsibilities are not about liabilities. We’re not driven by lawyers who say ‘we’ll relieve you of liability,’ we have our responsibilities to protect these student-athletes.”