With the announcement that the Big Ten will hold a fall football season, all eyes are now on the Pac-12.
Commissioner Larry Scott issued a statement Wednesday after USC and Oregon football players urged their state officials to lift government regulations that are slowing the conference’s ability to return.
“At this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice,” the statement from Scott read. “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.”
If there is a path to football returning in California and Oregon, Scott said it would take the approval of Gov. Gavin Newsom and Gov. Kate Brown to make it happen.
Newsom, however, said that isn’t the case. He denied that the state’s regulations were preventing the Pac-12 from holding games.
“When we put out guidelines a month or so ago and we aligned with the NCAA, there’s nothing in the state guidelines that prevent the Pac-12 from having conference games,” Newsom said. “There’s nothing in the guidelines that denies these games from occurring…
Gov. Newsom said he spoke with Scott this morning and the two are on the same page in terms of keeping student-athletes, coaches, and their greater communities safe.
“Remember these are student-athletes,” Newsom said. “They are not isolated like our NBA superstars are.”
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has yet to respond to a letter penned by Oregon quarterback, Tyler Shough, which urged Brown to reconsider the state’s regulations so players could return to the field.
Ducks receiver Mycah Pittman also shared a post to Twitter Tuesday night asking the Pac-12 to allow players the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of the 2020 season. The post was met with a positive response from several other Ducks players and coaching staff members who joined Pittman in demanding the conference start its football season.
Now that the Big Ten has reversed course and will begin the fall football season beginning on October 12, the Pac-12 is now the only conference of the Power 5 that will not be playing this fall.
The Big Ten is pushing forward, will the Pac-12 be left behind? The clock is ticking.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon football coach Mario Cristobal]