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Reports: Pac-12 Eyeing October Return

Jason Scott

After the Big Ten announced that it would begin playing football again in October, the pressure on the Pac-12 began to mount. Just days later, the conference has begun discussions on a fall return of its own. 

The Associated Press reports that Pac-12 university presidents and chancellors will meet Friday to discuss options for a fall football season, though no vote is expected.

Conference commissioner Larry Scott described the meeting as “a chance to get everyone caught up on what’s been a very dynamic and rapidly changing series of events over the last 24 to 48 hours.”

The AP reports that one of the hurdles standing in the way of the Pac-12 getting back on the field were state and local restrictions in states like California and Oregon. Some officials have said that they would be willing to ease those restrictions for Pac-12 teams that would otherwise be affected. The Los Angeles County Public Health Department said on Thursday that it would not impose additional restrictions beyond those required by state law on NCAA teams looking to return to play. Still, hurdles remain. 

RelatedOregon, Cal Governors Clear Way for Pac-12 Sports

Local governments, particularly in Santa Clara County and the city of Berkeley, Calif., could provide roadblocks on the Pac-12’s path back to the playing field. 

"Getting the local county approvals as soon as possible would allow our student-athletes and our coaches to start what we think of as normal practice," Scott told ESPN on Wednesday. "And then, the best-case scenario is six weeks of practice, training camp, and starting end of October, early November.”

Earlier this month, the Pac-12 secured rapid, daily COVID-19 tests for member schools, easing some medical concerns regarding returning to play. 

Scott wouldn’t speculate on how a vote might go, but pledged not to keep fans in the dark.

“We’ve tried to be very deliberate and very transparent,” Scott told the AP. “The major concerns and obstacles have now been cleared.”

Elsewhere, the Mid-American Conference and Mountain West Conference appear ready to reconsider their stance on fall football, as well. 

MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said earlier this week that his conference had no plans to resume sports for the fall, but on Thursday revealed to ESPN that he was talking to member schools about "the appropriate course of action moving forward." MAC presidents will reportedly meet on Saturday to discuss a possible football season.

The Mountain West, meanwhile, is working to secure rapid testing of its own, which league commissioner Craig Thompson described as "key." 

“The real trigger on this is the rapid-result testing,” Thompson told AP. “And that’s the key, if we can get that. We’re talking to a number of manufacturers and providers. That has to be done really before any decisions can concretely be made.”

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