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Pac-12 approves 10-game conference slate for football only

The Pac-12 on Friday approved a 10-match, only conference fall plan for football, scheduled to begin Sept. 26, with “a lot of built-in flexibility,” the conference announced Friday.

Each team will play five home games and five road games, and the Pac-12 Championship will now be played on December 18th or 19th. The conference title fight is being held in a 2020 home host model with Pac-12 and partners Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and MGM Resorts International have agreed to start hosting the Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium in 2021 until its two-year race in Las Vegas.

Games that cannot be played on their scheduled date can be put together in their bye weeks or in week 12 (December 12). Pac-12 and Big Ten both announced on July 10 that they would play a conference plan, but Friday was the first time Pac-12 announced its specifications.

While the Big Ten and Big 12 have yet to announce their plans, Friday marked the third straight day of this week that a Power 5 conference made drastic changes to their fall football plans – all with the warning that it might not happen at all as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect athletics in college. The ACC on Wednesday announced an 11-game model that includes Notre Dame, and the SEC followed on Thursday with its transition to a conference-only schedule.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott admitted that it “may not be possible” to play even a 10-game schedule before Dec. 19 – or spring may be needed to finish it.

“The same can happen in other markets,” he said. “… We recognize that the best-planned plans may not be implemented, whether or not we are able to start on the 26th, playing a complement of a minimum number of games that we believe would be required for a College Football Playoff and we may start but not be able to finish and then we will have to adjust.We will have to adjust with a spring piece, either to finish or to start, maybe delay dates for a “playoffs if it is still possible. There are many, many scenarios still on the table, but we felt it was critical at this point to be able to provide some clarity in our plan.”

When Scott was asked what his confidence level was this season, Scott replied, “I do not know.” As Major League Baseball continues to struggle with time-limited outbursts, Scott said he expects the same this fall in college football.

“There is no bubble, and a bubble would not be appropriate for college sports and for our campuses,” Scott told reporters at a media seminar Friday afternoon. “These are students and they will not be able to be quarantined or isolated in a bubble, just like pro sports do. … That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to build flexibility. If there is an outbreak on the team, we expect it to be a real possibility.And if it happens, especially with 14-day quarantine periods at the moment for everyone who is in close contact, it will require reorganization of a game .

“And then we have two options for each team to potentially reschedule or delay the start. We are aware that there are some markets that do not have the necessary rules at the moment to start on time. We need to ensure that they ‘We have got a safe and robust training camp to be able to play on time. If a team can not start on time, we have the bye week to reschedule … either for the bye week or this December 10 week, we have.”

With its delayed start, and the corona virus still growing in its geographical footprint, the Pac-12 will enter the period of “improved summer access” as early as August 3, after which the start of its official training camp as early as August 17. (The official NCAA-approved practice plan this year started the 20-hour enhanced period on July 24, and summer camp can officially begin on August 7 for all teams still opening during Labor Day weekend).

USC and UCLA said in a joint statement that the schools were happy with the Pac-12 plan.

“We understand the great interest in the 90th edition of our historic football rivalry game, which is currently scheduled for September 26 at the Rose Bowl,” the joint statement said. “Although we are progressing towards the start of our respective seasons, we do not currently have the necessary county and state clearances to start competitions. The development of a planning model for the autumn sports season that provides optimal flexibility was an important next step. in treat.

“In particular, our football plans create the opportunity for us to move our season opener to open dates later in the season (October 31 and December 12), if necessary. UCLA and USC are in absolute alignment and we remain in regular communication with state, local and “We will continue to follow their guidance with the utmost care for the health and safety of our student-athletes.”

Dr. Doug Aukerman, Oregon State senior associate athletic director, said it is difficult to determine a number of positive cases that would trigger a game to be canceled.

“You can not just say, ‘It’s a certain number of players,'” he said. “Because if you get a few infections and they come from different sources and they occur a day or two before the game, you may not really have control over the transmission of the virus in that case and you need to take one. break. Is it a few cases early in the week and they are both related and you can contact-trace back to where they were, it’s a much safer environment and situation. So it’s hard to come up with an easy, fast number. If that were the case, everyone at each conference would have already had it. “

Not all Pac-12 schools have been cleared to start even the enhanced admission period, which is mainly strength and conditioning, film review and review.

“We’ve been talking about this for five months, so we want a plan based on what we’re allowed to do, based on our local medical and government officials,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “We’ll find a way to make it work. There’s things we can do now that we could not do two weeks ago, and hopefully a few weeks from now there will be things we can do that we can do. can not do now. “

The new schedule includes rivals Arizona at Arizona State and USC at UCLA in the first week instead of the traditional end of the regular season.

“We’re aware at the moment, these are real hot spots, and the necessary authorities and approvals are not there yet,” Scott said of Arizona and California. “By placing them the first week, in case these teams in each of these two markets end up not being possible, they become very easy to reschedule. Each of these could reschedule for city week in the calendar a few weeks later, or the week of December that we left. We go with open eyes. “

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