Pac-12 approves 10-game conference-only slate for football

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On Friday, the Pac-12 approved a 10-game, conference-only fall schedule for football starting Sept. 26, with “a lot of flexibility built in,” the conference announced on Friday.

Each team will play five games at home and five on the road, and the Pac-12 championship will now be played on December 18 or 19. The conference title match will take place in a home-hosted model for 2020, with the Pac-12 and its partners The Allegiant Stadium and Raiders, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and MGM Resorts International accepting to begin hosting the championship game at Allegiant Stadium in 2021 for his two-year run in Las Vegas.

Games that cannot be played on their scheduled date can be picked up in their expiration weeks or week 12 (December 12). The Pac-12 and Big Ten both announced on July 10 that they would play a conference-only program, but Friday was the first time the Pac-12 had announced details.

While the Big Ten and Big 12 have yet to announce their plans, Friday marked the third day in a row this week a Power 5 conference made drastic changes to their fall football schedule – all with the caveat that this might not happen at all as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact varsity athletics. The ACC announced an 11-game model on Wednesday that includes Notre Dame, and the SEC followed up on Thursday with its move to a conference-only schedule.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott admitted that it “might not be possible” to play even a 10-game schedule before Dec. 19 – or spring might be needed to complete it.

“The same can happen in other markets,” he said. “… We recognize that the best-laid plans may not come to fruition, whether it’s to be able to start on the 26th, to play an addition to a minimum number of games that we think are necessary for a college football final, and we could start but not be able to finish, and then we have to adjust. We’ll have to adjust with a spring piece, either to finish or to start, maybe delaying the playoff dates if that’s still possible. There are many, many scenarios are still on the table, but we felt it was essential at this point to be able to clarify our plan. ”

When asked on Friday about his confidence level this season, Scott replied, “I don’t know. As Major League Baseball continues to grapple with schedule-interrupting epidemics, Scott said he expects the same in college football this fall.

“There is no bubble and a bubble would not be appropriate for college sports and for our campuses,” Scott told reporters during a media webinar on Friday afternoon. “They are students, and they cannot be quarantined or isolated in a bubble, like professional sports do. … This is one of the reasons why it is so important to build flexibility into the schedule. If there is an outbreak on the team, we would expect that to be a real possibility. And if that happens, especially with 14 day quarantine periods currently for anyone who is in close contact, it will require the rescheduling of a match.

“And so, we have two opportunities for each team to potentially reschedule or delay the start. We realize that some markets do not have the necessary rules at the moment to start on time. We have to make sure that they “I have safe and sturdy training camps so that I can play on time. If a team cannot start on time, we have the week off to postpone… either into the week off or this week of December 10th. we have. ”

With its delayed start and the coronavirus still increasing in its geographic footprint, the Pac-12 will enter the period of “improved summer access” from August 3, followed by the start of its official training camp on August 17. (The official NCAA-approved training schedule this year began the enhanced 8-hour period on July 24, and summer camp can officially begin August 7 for all teams that still open the weekend of the labor Day).

USC and UCLA said in a joint statement that schools were happy with the Pac-12 plan.

“We understand the great interest in the 90th edition of our historic football rivalry game, currently scheduled for September 26 at the Rose Bowl,” the joint statement read. “While we are progressing towards the start of our respective seasons, at the moment we do not have the necessary county and state clearances to begin competitions. Developing a planning model for the fall sports season that provides optimal flexibility was an important next step in the process.

“In particular, our football schedules provide us with the opportunity to move our season opening competition to open dates later in the season (October 31 and December 12), if necessary. UCLA and USC are in absolute alignment, and we remain in regular communication with state, local and university authorities. We will continue to follow their advice with the utmost respect for the health and safety of our student-athletes. ”

Dr Doug Aukerman, senior associate athletic director for the state of Oregon, said it was difficult to pinpoint a number of positive cases that would trigger a game’s cancellation.

“You can’t just say, ‘It’s a number of players,’” he said. “Because if you have a few infections and they come from different sources, and they happen a day or two before the game, maybe you don’t really have control over the transmission of the virus in that. case, and you need to take a break. If these are a few cases at the start of the week and they’re both related and you can reach out and find where they were, it’s a much safer environment and situation. So it’s hard to find an easy, quick number. If that was the case, everyone in every conference would have had it already. ”

Not all Pac-12 schools were allowed to even start the enhanced access period, which is mainly strength and conditioning, movie reviews and tours.

“We’ve been talking about this for five months, so we’ll have a plan based on what we’re allowed to do, based on our local medical and government officials,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “We’ll find a way to make it work. There are things we can do now that we couldn’t do two weeks ago, and hopefully in a few weeks we can do things that we can’t do. now. ”

The new schedule features rivals Arizona at Arizona State and USC at UCLA the first week instead of the traditional end of the regular season.

“We realize at the moment, these are real hot spots, and the required authorities and approvals are not there yet,” Scott said of Arizona and California. “By putting them in the first week, in case those teams in each of those two markets are not possible, they become very easy to reschedule. Each of them could carry over into the week off on the calendar a few weeks later, or the week in December we left. We go there with our eyes wide open. “



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