There will be no Pac-12 varsity sport for the remainder of 2020.
The Pac-12 CEO group, made up of presidents and chancellors, voted unanimously to postpone all sporting competitions, including football, until the end of calendar year 2020 on Tuesday in the hope to resume matches from January 1, 2021.
“We fully understand that this has enormous human impacts,” said Michael Schill, president of the University of Oregon. “We have students whose dream was to play this year and that dream, at least in the fall, will not come true. We have families, we have coaches, we have all kinds of people who are hoping we can do it and that’s one of the reasons we’ve delayed our decision until now because we really wanted to commit the best shot. . But in the end, we looked at recent cardiac evidence, we looked at the spread – which is increasing in some of our areas – we looked at government guidelines. We just said there are too many questions and too much uncertainty so we will continue to evaluate and hope to play in the spring.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said the conference still guaranteed scholarships for all affected athletes and that it “strongly encourages” the NCAA to grant students who withdraw from competition this academic year an additional year. of eligibility. The NCAA Division I Council, which includes Washington State Athletic Director Pat Chun, is meeting on Wednesday and is expected to discuss, among other topics, the eligibility of fall athletic athletes.
“It was an extremely difficult and painful decision which we know will have a significant impact on our student-athletes and coaches, administrators and fans,” said Scott. “I don’t know anything we can say to alleviate some of that disappointment, especially for some of our seniors.
The Pac-12’s decision came less than two hours after the Big Ten postponed fall sports to spring, as the two Power 5 conferences joined the MAC and Mountain West to cancel their fall football seasons. . The Big 12 presidents and chancellors met on Tuesday night as the ACC and SEC each issued statements saying they were staying on course, at least for now, to play this fall.
But the Pac-12 decision forces 53 of the 130 FBS programs to announce that they won’t be playing in the fall, and creates additional uncertainty as to what a fall season might even look like for those who still have it. intention to play.
“I feel for our student-athletes, coaches and staff on such a difficult day, and I appreciate their leadership during this time,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said in a statement. “The health and safety of our student-athletes will always guide our decisions and be our top priority, and we will continue to provide our first-class care to our student-athletes without interruption, including scholarship, medical care. and complete mental. health services, tutoring and other support services.
“We have been working diligently over the past few months with our Pac-12 conference peers, university leaders, medical experts, and our local and national health officials to find a safe path for competitive sports in the world. ‘autumn. Unfortunately, the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is preventing us from moving forward with contact at this time.
“We appreciate the expert advice of the Pac-12 Medical Advisory Group, Lane County Public Health and the Oregon Health Authority, as well as all the incredible efforts of our student-athletes, coaches and staff to make our return to training so successful at this point. We will follow the advice of public health experts and work with peer institutions to monitor this situation, in the hope that improving conditions will allow us to consider a return to competition for our student-athletes.
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Athletes from Oregon and Oregon State were both in line to open fall camp Monday, though they face uncertainty over their ability to progress to contact practices from here. the end of next week due to the ban on contact sports in the OHA guidelines. The athletes, starting with the soccer players, had been back on the Pac-12 campuses for over a month for voluntary and later mandatory training and OSU and UO have had stellar COVID-19 test results since. the return of their players.
“The OSU student-athletes have been truly amazing following our training protocols and so we are among the national leaders for the fewest COVID issues to date,” said the state athletic director of Oregon, Scott Barnes, in a statement.
The move comes after a tumultuous weekend in the varsity sporting landscape that ended with some optimism after many top players across the country joined forces to express their desire to play and demand standards of nationwide COVID-19 test, the possibility of unsubscribing from playing, for eligibility to be assured if there is no season and for the possible creation of a players’ association.
But these efforts and appeals from selected coaches, athletic directors, presidents and chancellors across the country have so far succumbed to pressures caused in large part by enduring uncertainty about the long-term impacts on society. health of the COVID-19 contraction.
“The bottom line is that today’s decision was made with the health and safety of our student-athletes as a priority, and this is the commitment we have had from the start,” said the coach. Oregon’s Mario Cristobal in a statement. “Our players and staff have done a tremendous job following all security protocols, and the result of this engagement has not been positive since the onboarding process. We will continue to provide a safe environment and the resources necessary for the success of our student-athletes. And we’ll use that extra time to elevate the level of Oregon football. “
The main criteria on which the Pac-12 based its decision were the rate of community spread of the virus and the ability to screen and locate contacts in the locations surrounding each member school and “new and evolving” information regarding myocarditis. , inflammation of the heart muscle. , found in some people who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19.
“We reluctantly came to the conclusion that there is no indication that things are likely to change in terms of the criteria that have influenced this in the coming weeks,” Scott said. “We had to balance that with the kind of clarity and certainty that our coaches and student-athletes are looking for.
Just 10 days ago, the Pac-12 announced their revised 10-game conference-only schedule for the 2020 season, which was set to start on September 26.
But even that day, Scott was uncertain if there would be a season, but said the conference was doing all they could to “preserve the opportunity, if the health and community conditions we allow us to move forward and if the public health authorities allow us to move forward. “
In the opinion of Pac-12 presidents and chancellors, with the advice of medical experts at their school, it is not viable to continue, nor will it be for some time.
“We’re moving on to another scenario,” Scott said. “What it looks like, we still have work to do. We know as soon as we feel comfortable and it’s safer – and some of these questions are answered when we feel more comfortable.
“As soon as possible, we will want to play.”