The Pac-12 decided this summer not to play football in fall 2020 because it didn’t feel like it had the access to quick COVID-19 tests it needed to run a season safely. With daily tests coming to Pac-12 programs earlier than expected, a 2020 return isn’t completely out of the picture.
Although the Pac-12 is considering returning to play in mid-November, the time has come. A league source tells CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd that the Pac-12 is in “a clear-cut hold pattern” because six of its 12 members – based in Oregon and California – are unable to keep in touch due to local ordinances. As long as those regulations are not lifted, there is no point in striving to start the season earlier.
Heather Dinich from ESPN first reportedthat the conference’s “most aggressive” return plan is mid to late November.
The Pac-12 initially said it wouldn’t be doing fall sports until spring 2021 at the earliest. In doing so, it explained that it did not believe the league could get enough testing until November. Now that the Pac-12 has signed an agreement with a private company to conduct daily rapid tests of its athletes starting in late September, the ideal timeline for starting and playing has been taken to the next level.
As Dinich explained, “While the new testing systems will be on each campus by the end of the month, the competition still expects to take a short amount of time to train staff on how to use them and ensure that the correct testing protocols are in place. present.”
In addition, coaches will likely practice for up to six weeks to keep their teams informed.
A Pac-12 source told Dodd earlier in early September that it would be a “huge hurdle” for the league to start a football season in the fall of 2020, given the parameters set forth by the league’s medical advisory group.
While access to more tests and information has shaped the way decision-makers see the viability of football sooner rather than later, a rapid turnaround will ultimately be difficult to orchestrate in an uncertain, ever-changing climate.