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Optimism grows after Pac-12 announces groundbreaking COVID testing partnership

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On August 11, the Pac-12 (along with the Big Ten Conference) announced that it would postpone all fall sports in 2020.

The main reason for this big move was the Pac-12 CEO Group wanted “more frequent testing, performed closer to game time, and with more rapid turn-around time,” in light of the potential long term impacts to the health and safety of the student-athletes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been a sad three weeks to say the least as college football in the other three conferences lives on, for now.

But on Thursday, a little bit of positive news. The Pac-12 has partnered with Quidel Corporation, a diagnostic test leader, to implement up to daily COVID-19 testing of student-athletes.

“This is a major step toward the safe resumption of Pac-12 sport competitions,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “The availability of a reliable test that can be administered daily, with almost immediate results, addresses one of the key concerns that was expressed by our medical advisory committee, as well as by student-athletes, coaches and others." 

At the same time, our partnership with Quidel, the industry leader in point-of-care antigen testing, will provide crucial research data that will benefit our members’ communities as well as the entire country.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott

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Douglas Bryant, Quidel’s president and CEO, added: “We are pleased to participate in this innovative arrangement that will help protect Pac-12 student-athletes and allow them to return to play while contributing to further understanding of the COVID-19 virus that will benefit all of society. With its well-established medical research program, the Pac-12 is an ideal partner to help us develop and document the most effective coronavirus testing protocol to serve our families and communities.”

 

According to the Pac-12’s website, 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 2020. Over the coming weeks, the Pac-12 plans to review this latest testing breakthrough with its sport planning committees and to evaluate the impact on return to competition scenarios.

Big news indeed with the recent rumors of the Big Ten discussing a potential restart date in November for football.

Is there a little optimism for football in 2020 in the air? Perhaps. However, even with this new available testing, teams will still have to wait on state approval. 

But this is a huge step in the direction of Pac-12 collegiate football returning to the field in 2020 or early 2021.

Scott is also optimistic about college basketball starting before January 1, 2021.

"I am hopeful today’s news and what’s coming from the NCAA will provide us a pathway to start before Jan. 1."

Let's keep the good news rolling.