The Pac-12 became the second major conference to announce that fall sports will be conference-only, with an accompanying delay to the start of mandatory activities.
The Big Ten made a similar decision earlier in the week.
Pac-12 CEO Group announces decision to schedule conference-only play for several Fall sports & to delay move toward mandatory athletics activities.
Full announcement ➡️ https://t.co/A6PNFSeZ5d
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) July 10, 2020
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.”
It feels like a certainty that all conferences will follow suit in short order. There’s at least one report that has Ole Miss and Baylor canceling their planned season opener in advance of more conference announcements.
Ole Miss football and Baylor have agreed to cancel the season opener in Houston with an announcement to come next week, per sources.
Not a big surprise, as the BIG10 and PAC12 (among others) are moving to conference-only schedules. Expect the SEC to do the same soon.
— Grayson Weir (@GsonJW) July 10, 2020
Right now a college football season at all seems like a longshot. The stages of precaution feel similar to college basketball’s decisions to play without fans at first only to immediately cancel; college football (and other fall sports, obviously, but football is obviously the one that counts most on the business side) is just making similar moves but on a longer timeline. (The analogy also includes the Ivy League being first to just cancel everything.)
Hopefully that’s not the case, because it would mean that things are trending much more positively than they seem to be now. But at this point, colleges themselves opening up feels unlikely, much less college sports.