Pac-12 Will Decide on September 24 on Possible Fall Football

Pac-12 commissioner Larry ScottPhoto by Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

Expectations were high that the Pac-12 university presidents would vote on Friday to approve a fall football season for the conference, but the vote did not take place.

Instead the Pac-12 released a statement Friday evening saying that a vote to decide the issue will be taken Thursday, September 24. Here is the complete statement:

The Pac-12 CEO Group had an informative and productive meeting earlier today. We plan to reconvene this coming Thursday, September 24 to make a decision regarding possible return to play prior to January 1. The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports will continue to be our number one priority in all of our decision making.

The conference presidents were scheduled to meet Friday regarding basketball issues, but when the Big Ten announced Wednesday that it would play a fall football schedule starting Oct. 24, there was speculation that the Pac-12 university presidents would make some time in their Friday meeting to vote on a similar fall football schedule for the Pac-12.

But Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott had told Dan Patrick of ESPN Friday morning that he was not expecting a vote Friday and would not push for a vote on Friday.

The university presidents, who make the final decision on such matters, presumably will vote within the next few days, and the expectation is that they will approve a fall football season for the Pac-12, although the exact starting date has yet to be determined.

One of the issues holding up the Pac-12 process is that the two Bay Area Pac-12 schools -- Cal and Stanford -- have not received clearance from local health officials to proceed with full-contact practices.  Progress is being made on that front, according  to the San Jose Mercury News.

Clarity on the status of health restrictions in the Bay Area is needed before the presidents vote next Thursday.

The Pac-12 had announced on August 11 that it was postponing all fall sports until at least January 1.  But the presence of a new COVID-19 testing system that provides quicker results, the comments from the California and Oregon governors that their states' health guidelines would not prevent college football games from being played and the protests of players wanting to play in the fall have led to the conclusion that the Pac-12 will decide to have a fall football season too.

There have been reports that a fall Pac-12 fall football schedule would include seven in-conference games plus a conference championship game. The most likely starting dates are Oct. 31 and Nov. 7, with the November date now looking like the more likely beginning.

“If we’re going to move forward, it’s going to depend on how quickly we can get back to practice," Scott told Patrick. "Six weeks would be from Monday [to be prepared for an Oct. 31 start], but we’re only getting these rapid tests next week, so I think that would be the most ambitious, maybe a week or two too quick for us. But somewhere in that zip code is where we would be playing if we’re playing.” 

It is believed that teams would need six weeks of preparation -- a two-week ramp-up period and a four-week training camp -- to be ready to play a game.. The Pac-12 would like to have its season completed before the College Football Playoff committee announces on Dec. 20 the four teams that will compete for the national championship.

That's why Cal and Stanford are hoping to get medical clearance to begin contact work soon.

Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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