Sep 24, 2020 - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

 A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game.

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

  • No fans will be allowed at any sporting competition taking place on Pac-12 campuses.
  • The decision to not allow fans at competitions will be revisited based on health and safety considerations in January 2021, league says.

What they're saying: "In addition to the consistent access to sufficient testing across all Pac-12 programs, community prevalence has shown continued improvement in the majority of communities across the Pac-12 footprint," the conference said in a statement.

  • “The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports remains our guiding light and number one priority,” said Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and University of Oregon President Michael Schill.
  • "We believe access to near-daily rapid point of care testing for contact sports will significantly improve our ability to prevent transmission of COVID during higher risk of transmission activities and reduce the risk of travel," the Pac-12 medical advisory committee said.

Flashback: Pac-12 announced in early September that it entered into an agreement with diagnostic test leader Quidel Corporation to implement up to daily testing for the virus with student-athletes across all campuses for close-contact athletics.

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