Pac-12 Conference To Replicate Big Ten's Fall Sports Schedule Plan; ACC Waiting Until July 31 To Decide

Matthew Stevens

The Pac-12 Conference announced Friday it will replicate the Big Ten Conference's decision from a day ago and have its fall sports seasons be played with a conference-only schedule. 

In addition to football, the Pac-12’s announcement, which came after a conference call by all of its school's athletic directors, will also include men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

The Pac-12 said it is also removing any mandatory workout start date for football programs. The original date that Pac-12 Conference programs could begin workouts and film sessions was July 13 but that is now an unknown proposition due to complications that have arisen regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Later Friday evening, the Pac-12 Conference also announced commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19. According to the league release, Scott was reportedly tested late this week after experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and is self-quarantining himself at the direction of his physician. The release continues to say Scott, 55, is continuing to carrying out his normal work duties remotely.

In a statement from league commissioner John Swofford, the Atlantic Coast Conference expects to make its official decision on a fall sports schedule in “late July.” Swofford's statement confirms the league officials have prepared “numerous scenarios” for fall competition over the last few months and the final decision, expected by the end of this month, would come from the league’s board of directors.

Pac 12 officials have confirmed 2020 schedule details for its programs are expected be released by the end of July. While quoting unnamed sources, The Athletic has reported Friday evening that the league offices have both a nine-game and 10-game format worked up for the football season as future contingency plans. 

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

Similarly to the Big Ten's statement and plans for the upcoming fall released on July 9, the Pac-12 Conference is stating all athletes who opt not to participate in their sports in the 2020-21 year over health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19 will retain their scholarships and positive standing on their respective teams.

According to the current New York Times COVID-19 database, all six states (California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado and Utah) that contain all 12 schools in Pac-12 have counties that have seen COVID-19 cases rise dramatically over the last 14 days. Last week, the University of Southern California reversed its position on in-person classes for the fall by announcing mostly online classes for the fall. On June 25, University of Arizona president Robert Robbins said the school would not reopen the university to having students on campus with the data in the state of Arizona showing confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state now standing at 116,892, increasing 4,221 from the previous day, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.