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ASU Football: How Sports Will Look in 2021 After PAC-12 Delays Competition Until New Year

The Pac-12 postponed sports until the beginning of 2021.
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On Tuesday afternoon, the PAC-12 conference voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 college football season, as well as delaying the rest of the fall and winter slate of sports until 2021. The hope is to reschedule the competitions during the spring semester. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, but here’s what we do know. Let’s dive in.

While the college athletes may not get to play this year, their benefits will still come into effect. “The student-athletes will have their scholarships guaranteed,” said PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott in Tuesday’s press conference. There is still uncertainty about whether or not players will be able to redshirt or transfer.

Scott also responded to the reason behind such a sudden move to cancel the football and fall sports seasons, especially since updated schedules and a conference-only approach was announced to be the plan less than two weeks prior. “There’s too many questions and concerns that have been made. We were not comfortable beginning contact sports.”

“We knew from the beginning that this virus was very fluid,” Arizona State Athletic Director Ray Anderson said on Tuesday. Anderson referenced the rise of cases in the region that houses the conference, and that the COVID footprint has a lot of time to wane itself out.

The conference plans on constantly reassessing the data while approaching the situation by looking at facts and going with a science-based plan. While the idea is to have all fall/winter sports to be completed in the spring. The major concern that goes with competing in the spring is scheduling.

Player safety goes beyond Coronavirus if these sports were to play in the spring, and then come back and have full seasons that following fall. “Having two sports seasons in one calendar year might not be the wisest thing to do,” Anderson said. “If we protect them from the virus and then expose them to the risk of too many games or practices, then what have we done?”

Another scheduling concern comes with having every sport attempting to play simultaneously in the spring semester. A lot of broadcast conflicts will occur with time slot issues, as well as the timing of venue use due to several stadiums being used as multi-complex venues. While outdoor sports, such as football, may experience different gifts from Mother Nature. “Weather conditions would be different for us… All of a sudden, we’re playing in the snow,” said Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards about the possibility of playing football next semester.

Edwards also talked about proceeding team activities and workouts carefully to avoid overworking athletes. “This will take a lot of navigation to space out our practices while keeping the players safe… You’re talking about a full NFL season in a frame of a year,” he said.

There is still no promise that competitive fall semester sports will be played in the spring, But optimism remains around Arizona State’s program.”It’s never been done that way, but we’re not saying you can’t do it,” said Edwards.

Anderson added, “All of us want to play sports… We’re going to hold out hope that things will change.”