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How The Big Ten News Impacts The Pac-12

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Big Ten has reversed course and voted unanimously on Wednesday to start their football season at the end of October.

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 is still standing back and is now the only Power-5 conference to not have any plans to play football in the fall. While Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has made moves to change the vote of the CEO Group by teaming up with Quidel Corporations to get rapid test results, there is still a lot of obstacles and approvals that need to happen before the Pac-12 CEO Group can even begin to vote to move up the start of their football season.

The Crimson Corner podcast discussed the options and what needs to happen in order to see Pac-12 football in the fall.

Larry Scott wanted to be in sync with the Big Ten and potentially start the season together at the end of November but with the Big Ten moving ahead with starting the season the weekend of October 23 and 24, Scott’s vision seems unlikely. Unless Scott and the conference can overcome the hurdles in front of them within the next week or two, the Pac-12 will likely be on their own island when it comes to playing a football season at a different point in the year than the other Power-5 conferences.

Here is some of the obstacles that need to happen before we can even start talking about a football season in the fall.

California/Oregon Approval

When Scott announced the deal with Quidel, it was mentioned how groundbreaking the partnership was and that it was a game-changer. Scott was asked many times in national interviews about the possibility of moving up the start of the season from January to November, Scott mentioned that a big hurdle they have to jump through is getting approval from the local and state public health officials in California and Oregon.

Now, this challenge might not be as difficult. Larry Scott originally said that both California and Oregon are prohibiting contact practices. But, according to California Governor Gavin Newsom, the state has not put any rules or restrictions that prevent the teams from playing. Newsom spoke to Scott on the phone on Wednesday morning.

If this is the case, then only Oregon stands in the way of getting the thumbs up.

Four teams in the Pac-12 are in the state of California, including Stanford, California, USC and UCLA. Two teams are in Oregon, including the Ducks and Oregon State. That’s half of the league.

On Wednesday as well, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the state have granted exemption to Oregon and Oregon State. The Pac-12 will need to submit protocols to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

If the conference can get approval from the state and government officials from those two states, that’s another huge obstacle that has been tackled. Hopefully, officials are impressed with the rapid testing that each school in the Pac-12 will receive with Quidel that will give COVID-19 test results in 15 minutes. Allowing each school to test student-athletes daily.

CEO Group Approval

Getting approval from California and Oregon is the first step. The next step is to get the Pac-12 CEO Group together which is comprised of presidents and chancellors from each of the 12 universities. They will need to vote unanimously to proceed with pushing the start of the season earlier than January 1.

To me, that obstacle doesn’t seem too difficult to overcome. Especially with the testing partnership. The conference has “working groups” that is working together to put protocols and schedules in place for when they get the green light. As long as the presentation is the best option to keep student-athletes, staff and coaches safe, it shouldn’t be too hard to get a thumbs up from the CEO Group.

Possible Options

Matt Zemek covers USC for Trojans Wire, which is a part of the USA Today Network. He wrote a piece on Wednesday that gave an idea of playing the season in a bubble and have Salt Lake City host. The state has plenty of places to play football games and it would give teams an opportunity to play. Obviously, fans won’t be able to be in the bubble but who is to say that fans would be allowed at home sites?

If the Governor(s) don’t give the thumbs up, let the schools play out of state at a site within the region. It’s not ideal especially when dealing with student-athletes and not professionals.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.