BeaversEdge - Following BIG10 Announcement, All Eyes On Pac-12
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Following BIG10 Announcement, All Eyes On Pac-12

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The ball is officially in the Pac-12's court...

Following a unanimous vote by the BIG 10 Presidents and Chancellors, the conference is on its way to a return to the gridiron in late-October.

That means that the Pac-12 Conference is the lone power-five conference that isn't either currently playing, or attempting to play by November. Despite trying to work in lock-step with BIG10 Commissioner Kevin Warren to align their returns to play, the BIG10 has now leapfrogged Larry Scott and the Pac-12.

What's next for the Pac-12 is very much the question. At some point in the near future, the conference presidents and chancellors are expected to have a vote, but it's anyone's guess exactly when.

“The Pac-12 welcomes today’s statements by Gov. Newsom of California and Gov. Brown of Oregon that state public health officials will allow for contact practices and return to competition, and that there are no state restrictions on our ability to play sports in the light of our adherence to strict health and safety protocols and stringent testing requirements, including our partnership with Quidel that will enable daily rapid results testing,” Scott said in a statement.

“Our California and Oregon universities will now each individually and immediately reach out to their relevant county health officials to seek clarification on what is required to achieve the same clearance to resume contact practice and competition.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s office released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, granting Oregon and Oregon State an exemption to the Oregon Health Authority’s guidelines.

“Representatives of the University of Oregon and Oregon State University athletic departments met with the Oregon Health Authority this afternoon to discuss their COVID-19 health and safety plans for their football teams. The universities have asked for an exemption to OHA’s sports guidance, just as Oregon’s professional sports team have been given. We have granted that request, and, under the new guidance, OHA must receive written plans for approval.”

"Let me stress that, up to this point, no written operating procedures for approval from the Pac-12 for the upcoming season under the new guidance, and we have no details from the conference about their new rapid testing proposal. Until we have those details, we can’t move forward in the process.

“We want Oregon and Oregon State’s players to be able to focus on football while protecting their health and safety. We also want to ensure that team practices will not be derailed by a COVID-19 outbreak that would threaten the health not only of the players and coaches, but of their university communities and the wider communities in Eugene and Corvallis.”

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News and author of the Pac-12 Hotline newsletter laid out what the conference needs to achieve in the next several weeks to not be the lone power-five conference that didn't return to play.

"The next few weeks are critical — no, they’re beyond critical: they’re everything.

The conference cannot force-feed the narrative that it cares less about football than its Power Five peers," Wilner said.

As far as laying out that testing plan and developing a protocol for keeping student-athletes safe, the Pac-12 is well on its way toward being able to present that data.

Quidel’s Sofia 2 testing machines and tests are expected to be delivered to each of the Pac-12’s athletic departments by the end of September. The machines are expected to be in use by early October, bringing daily testing to the conference. The lack of such resources was a big part of the decision to postpone until Jan. 1st 2021.

Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith, and several other prominent Pac-12 coaches have stated that they'd prefer to have six weeks to prepare for the upcoming season, but could make 4-5 weeks of lead time (including fall camp) work if necessary.

Stick with for continuing coverage of this breaking news, this story will be updated...


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