Pac-12 Announces Conference-Only Schedule for Football, Fall Sports

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJuly 10, 2020

FILE - This Aug. 29, 2019, file photo shows the PAC-12 logo at Sun Devil Stadium during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Arizona State and Kent State in Tempe, Ariz. The Pac-12 Conference will allow voluntary workouts on campus for all sports beginning June 15, subject to the decision of each individual school and where allowed by local and state guidelines, the conference announced Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

The Pac-12 will play conference-only schedules this fall, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott announced Friday evening. 

Scott said the decision prioritizes the health and safety of both student-athletes and those connected to Pac-12 sports and will affect football, women's volleyball and men's and women's soccer. 

The move follows a similar decision announced by the Big Ten on Thursday. 

Among the numerous nonconference games impacted by the decision is the matchup between USC and Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which was set to open the football season for both schools.

In response, Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said the school will adjust accordingly but that a backup plan had yet to be determined. 

The Oregon-Ohio State game had already been canceled as a result of the Big Ten's announcement. Stanford and USC had previously scheduled games against Notre Dame that are now off as well. That also goes for Arizona-Texas Tech, Utah-BYU, Colorado-Texas A&M, Oregon State-Oklahoma State and Cal-TCU. 

It's unclear how many football games the Pac-12 will schedule this year. 

On July 2, Jon Wilner of the Bay Area News Group reported the conference was ready to "pivot quickly" with its football plans after noting a number of spikes of COVID-19 in regions within the Pac-12. Options had included delaying games until the spring or postponing the start of the season along with a conference-only schedule. 

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At the time, Scott said the league could "turn on a dime" and had already been in contact with the commissioners of other Power Five conferences about doing the same. The Big Ten's decision to go to a conference-only schedule may have started a domino effect for the rest of the Power Five. 

Even still, it appeared the overall status of fall college sports was not solidified in Scott's mind. 

"I still want to be cautiously optimistic," Scott said, per Wilner. "But if there's no change in society's response and behavior, which results in a quick flattening of the curve and a decrease in the spread of the virus, that would lead to a much more pessimistic view about our campuses being able to open and our ability to play college sports."

Announcements on similar schedule changes from the ACC and Big 12 are expected in late July.

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