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Pac-12 Votes to Start Football Season on Nov. 6

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The Pac-12 voted on Thursday to reverse its initial decision and begin its football season this fall, as first reported by Jon Wilner of The Mercury News. The report was confirmed by Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde, with the conference following up with an official announcement.

The Pac-12 season will begin on Nov. 6, with the conference title game held on Dec. 18. Each team will play seven games, as first reported by ESPN's Kyle Bonagura. There will be no fans in attendance this season, per Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.

The conference also announced that its men's and women's basketball seasons will begin on Nov. 25. The Pac-12 football schedule will be released "in the coming days."

On Aug. 11, the Pac-12 announced it would postpone the fall football season amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The vote came just hours after the Big Ten reached the same decision, and both conferences said they would attempt to hold their football seasons in spring 2021.

However, the Big Ten voted last week to change its initial decision and start a shortened season on the weekend of Oct. 23–24. The league cited "daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition," as reasons behind its decision to play a fall season.

Following the announcement, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said that the conference was not yet ready to play since its universities did not have approval from public health officials to begin contact practice.

Half of the Pac-12's schools are located in either California or Arizona, which have been hit hard by the virus. The two states have recorded a combined total of over 999,100 COVID-19 cases during the ongoing pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier this week, sources told Forde that the conference's presidents would meet on Thursday to reach a decision on a possible fall football season. Forde reported that local governments were "more willing to work with schools now," but rapid COVID-19 testing remained an important factor in the Pac-12's return this fall.