Reports: Pac-12 CEO's to meet Tuesday night, discuss 2020 future

Ryan Kostecka

For the past 100 years, the University of Utah has played college football every season in the fall. Now that streak is being threatened due to health, safety and longterm concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation.

According to sources, Tuesday night is shaping up to be a big one in the history of the Pac-12 conference. The 12 presidents or chancellors who make up the Pac-12 CEO group — who ultimately make the decisions for the conference as a whole — are scheduled to meet and discuss the realities/possibilities for a fall football season.

The opinion that seems most common, and that is being most likely linked, is that they will vote to not play this fall — rather opt out to play in the spring. 

A conference call took place on Monday night featuring each school's athletic director and head football coach to discuss the growing concerns about the health and safety of the players. During that conference call, those involved were updated about the direction the conference was heading in, which is a cancellation of the fall and postponement to the spring.

The point of the CEO's meeting tonight is that they're expected to be briefed about the growing concern regarding myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle often caused by a viral infection that has been linked to the novel coronavirus. 

According to the American Heart Association, myocarditis "comes on suddenly and often with significant severity, resulting in an exceptionally high risk of death caused by cardiogenic shock (the heart's inability to pump enough blood), fatal arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) and multiorgan failure."

Utah Utes team doctor David Petron, a member of the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Board, was interviewed on ESPN 700 in Salt Lake City on Monday evening and expressed his concern regarding playing college football this fall.

During the interview, Petron said that a document outlining the possible methods moving forward was presented to Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, and will now be shared with the CEO group Tuesday night.

"The recommendation will be stop contact and competitive activities at this time and the document will outline criteria that is needed to move forward with competition," Petron told host Spence Checketts.

The biggest takeaway from Petron's interview was that he didn't outright dismiss the idea of playing college football this fall, still leaving the option open.

But in order to do so, there needs to be much more frequent testing that are in line with the hotspots throughout the nation. For instance, Pullman, Washington in Washington State has barely been hit so weekly testing would be most appropriate. Likewise, Los Angeles where UCLA and USC are located are hotspots and needed to be treated as thus with daily testing.

Petron also said that while daily testing isn't an option at this point, a point-of-care test would serve its purpose and potentially allow for a college football season. He also noted that with the issues of myocarditis potentially being a threat, cardiac evaluations must be done as well.

Even with all of this information now out in the public, college football players still want to play. 

Utah quarterback Jake Bentley took to Twitter on Monday night to compliment the job that Utah athletic director Mark Harlan and his staff have done already in making sure to keep the players safe and healthy.

The Pac-12 CEO group has a huge decision to make this evening, and while it may be considered premature to decide the fate of the college football season already, this is a discussion that needed to be had a month ago.

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