Pac-12 Releases Statement After Big Ten Football Outlines Return Amid COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2020

FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2017, file photo, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott gestures while speaking a NCAA college basketball Pac-12 media day, in San Francisco. A Pac-12 task force on reforming college basketball is recommending an end to the NBA’s one-and-done rule, allowing players to return to school even after they are drafted, and that the NCAA facilitate access to agents for high school players. The Pac-12 announced the recommendations from its task force on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, and its report has been sent to the NCAA’s commission on college basketball, headed by former Secretary of State and Stanford University Provost Condoleezza Rice. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott released a statement Wednesday saying there's no change to the conference's football plans after the Big Ten confirmed it will attempt to start the 2020 season Oct. 23, reversing a prior decision to move football to the spring. 

The Pac-12 previously announced no sports would be held until at least January 2021.

Along with health concerns related to COVID-19, the West Coast is currently trying to combat widespread wildfires that have caused air-quality issues. It led MLB's Seattle Mariners to reschedule their home series against the San Francisco Giants into a road series.

The situation further complicates any Pac-12 effort to rejoin the Power Five conferences playing football.

ESPN's Heather Dinich reported Monday the Pac-12's "most aggressive" conversations about starting the football season are focused on mid-to-late November, which is when the other major conferences (ACC, Big 12 and SEC) will be playing the latter stages of their regular season.

Those conferences have eliminated or significantly reduced the non-conference portion of their schedules, and the Pac-12 would likely stick with a conference-only slate, but it would still create logistical issues in trying to crown a true national champion.

The Pac-12's efforts did receive a boost in early September when it announced a partnership with the Quidel Corporation to handle rapid-result coronavirus tests to better handle daily testing of student-athletes, which Scott called a "game-changer."

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Although the Big Ten's announcement will increase the outside pressure on the Pac-12 to follow suit, it doesn't sound like a similar commitment is imminent based on Scott's comments Wednesday.

That said, there's no perfect solution because waiting until the spring would interfere with the NFL offseason, including the 2021 draft, which is scheduled to begin April 29.