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Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott Releases Statement After California, Oregon Schools Get Clearance

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott during the 2016 Pac-12 Media Day in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott released a statement on Wednesday afternoon after statements were made by Governors of California and Oregon.

It’s the second statement of the day made by Scott. The first one was sent out this morning following the news of the Big Ten returning to play on the weekend of October 23 and 24.

In that statement, Scott said that Oregon and California have not allowed to have contact practices in football and that it was one of the holdups from the conference not playing football despite a new partnership with Quidel.

The following is the statement from Larry Scott on Wednesday afternoon.

“The Pac-12 welcomes today’s statements by Governor Newsom of California and Governor Brown of Oregon that state public health officials will allow for contact practice and return to competition, and that there are no state restrictions on our ability to play sports in light of our adherence to strict health and safety protocols and stringent testing requirements, including our recently announced partnership with Quidel which will enable daily rapid testing,” the statement read. “We appreciate Governor Newsom’s and Governor Brown’s support, the former of which is consistent with the very productive conversation that he and I had earlier today. Our California and Oregon universities will now each individually and immediately reach out to their relevant county public health officials to seek clarification on what is required to achieve the same clearance to resume contact practice and competition. We are eager for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play this season, as soon as it can be done safely and in accordance with public health authority approvals.”

Governor Newsom’s Comments

Earlier on Wednesday after Commissioner Scott’s comments, Governor Gavin Newsom said that the state of California doesn’t have any guidelines that would prevent their four universities to not practice.

“When we put out guidelines a month or so ago and we aligned them with the NCAA, there’s nothing in the state guidelines that denies the Pac-12 from having conference games. There’s nothing in these guidelines that denies these games from occurring. We put out very, I thought, thoughtful guidelines, in again, partnership with the NCAA about cohorting during workouts and practices,” Newsom said. “Now this manifests very differently depending on the sport. Basketball cohorting of up to 12 might be a little easier than football up to 12. Offensive and defensive teams are able to coordinate and practice.

“Nothing in the state guidelines deny the ability for the Pac-12 to resume,” Newsom added. “Quite the contrary, that has been a misrepresentation of the facts… I talked to Larry Scott about two hours ago, we’re committed to working with the Pac-12, working with the NCAA to keep our kids safe, to keep our coaches safe, to keep coaching staff, friends, and family safe and to keep the larger campus community safe. Remember these are student-athletes. They are not isolated in a bubble like our NBA superstars are.”

Later in the briefing, Newsom made it clear that football can be played in the state in the Pac-12.

Governor Brown’s Statement

The following is a statement made by Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday.

“Governor Brown today is meeting with firefighters, first responders, and members of the incident management teams who have been on the frontlines working to save Oregonian lives and homes from the devastation of wildfires,” Bowen said. “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 (Oregon Health Authority) sports guidance, just as Oregon’s professional sports team have been given,” Bowen added. “We have granted that request, and, under the new guidance, OHA must receive written plans for approval. (The full language of the guidance is below.)

“Let me stress that, up to this point, we have received no written plans from the Pac-12 for the upcoming season, and we have no details from the conference about their rapid testing proposal,” Bowen continued. “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 their university communities and the wider communities in Eugene and Corvallis.”

Under the OHA Sports Exemption for Pac-12 Conference Institutions stated the following.

“Pac-12 Conference teams wishing to play in the State of Oregon must submit protocols to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Governor’s office to ensure training, competition and play aligns with all public health guidance and county phase requirements. Training, competition and play cannot resume until protocols are reviewed and approved by the Governor’s office and OHA,” the statement read. “Pac-12 Conference sports that are practiced and played within the State of Oregon are exempt from all other sports guidance issued, including the Statewide Collegiate, Semi-Professional, aand Minor League Sports, Limited Return to Play guidance.

“Pac-12 Conference sports teams are expected to adhere to the standards developed by each of their leagues around practice, playing, contact tracing, testing, quarantine and any other applicable area of consideration, including protocols approved by OHA and Governor’s Office,” the statement continued. “Pac-12 Conference sports events that are played in Oregon must comply with the OHA Phase Two Reopening Guidance – Venue and Event Operators.”

Larry Scott’s Statement Wednesday Morning

Here is the statement from Larry Scott on Wednesday morning after the Big Ten decided to begin their football season in October.

“At this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice,” Scott stated. “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. We are equally closely monitoring the devastating fires and air quality in our region at this time. We are eager for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play this season, as soon as it can be done safely and in accordance with public health authority approvals.”

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