Wildfires, states complicating Pac-12 season

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With the announcement from the Big Ten Conference that college football will return next month, many called upon the Pac-12 to re-evaluate its postponement of the fall season. However, it’s not a simple task. 

The Pac-12 is waiting for government restrictions in California and Oregon to be lifted before finalizing a return-to-play plan, and there’s no telling when that may be.

“At this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura. “We are hopeful that our new daily testing capability can help satisfy public health official approvals in California and Oregon to begin contact practice and competition.”

Earlier this month, the conference entered a deal with a test manufacturer to provide daily coronavirus testing, but the tests aren’t expected to be ready until October. If daily testing allows for contact practices to begin, then the Pac-12 is expected to enact a six-week ramp-up period before beginning games. This would mean that games could potentially start in November. 

In August, the Pac-12 postponed all fall athletics until at least Jan. 1, just hours after Big Ten declared it was doing the same due to the ongoing pandemic. The coronavirus isn’t the only concern for the conference, though. 

The wildfires spreading across California have led to some of the worst air quality in the world. Even if Pac-12 teams were playing, they probably wouldn’t be able to practice or play games right now due to the poor air quality. 

Earlier this week, USC players penned a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom to petition for the state to ease its coronavirus restrictions. With Big Ten’s season set to get underway next month, more teams probably will follow in the Trojans’ footsteps. 


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