Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks won't rule the basketball world without its King

USA Today

Oregon Ducks won't rule the basketball world without its King

The Oregon men's basketball season sits in a precarious situation. In a sport where not one player that's good enough to make millions in the NBA wants to play for free in college, the Ducks, like other programs, are continually fighting to build a national title contender before their best players move on to get paid. 

Oregon's men's basketball season ended sooner than it had hoped but also much later than anyone could have expected once the Pac-12 Conference season began without Bol Bol, lost for the season with a foot injury. The team's run to the Pac-12 tournament championship and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, where last Thursday it fell to No. 1-seed Virginia, was accomplished with a roster that consisted of just two seniors (Paul White and Ehab Amin) and enough talented underclassmen to at least contemplate a deeper run next season. 

However, that likely won't be possible without the return of freshman Louis King, who following the team's loss to Virginia he is undecided about his future. King is the key to it all. With him, the Ducks would have the look of a Final Four contender. With out him, it's difficult to believe that the Ducks will make another strong run. 

First off, let's just get this question out of the way: Junior point guard Payton Pritchard and sophomore forward Kenny Wooten have no business leaving for the NBA at this time. Neither is listed as a potential draft pick on any mock draft out there (at least that I could find). Sure, they should test the waters, but both would be better off returning next season. If both were to leave, Oregon would have no chance of doing much of anything next season. 

Now let's return to a world where both Pritchard and Wooten do return. In this world, a team led by this duo would be quite formidable. Plus, they would be surrounded by a ton of budding talent. Guard Victor Bailey Jr., who will become a junior, is going to bust out next season. The former four-star recruit shot .39 percent from three-point range last season and should only improve his all-around game.

The 2018 recruiting class was led by five-star gems, King and Bol Bol, who will be a first-round pick in June, but also featured three four-star recruits. Guard Will Richardson, forward Miles Norris and center Francis Okoro certainly flashed great potential this season. 

Then Oregon has its incoming class led by five-star forward C.J. Walker, and four-star recruits; guard Christopher Duarte, forward Chandler Lawson and center Isaac Johnson.  

On paper, that's at least six recent four-star recruits, a five-star talent in Walker, Payton and Wooten hit the hardwood with next season. Not bad. But it's not good enough to make a Final Four run given the extreme youth. 

What that group needs is King to get them over the top. King, after Bol Bol went down with a foot injury, was easily UO's most talented player on the court. He initially struggled after missing seven games with a torn meniscus. He shot 21 of 64 (32.8 percent) over his first seven games before finding his grove. He finished at 43.8 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three while ranking second on the team in scoring (13.5), only behind Bol Bol (21.1) and second in rebounds (5.5), also behind his fallen teammate (9.6).

King would be the team's centerpiece. The star other teams fear. The player that could make everyone around him better by his sheer presence, especially the incoming freshmen. He is a fluid, graceful, 6-foot-9 athlete capable of getting his own shot, penetrating and dropping threes in the faces of defenders. What's not to love?

King would be this team's Dillon Brooks, who led the Ducks to the 2017 Final Four. 

Without King, the Ducks would still be good, and who knows, maybe one of the returning sophomores or incoming freshmen blows up and becomes that dawg.

That's a big "if." King is a sure thing.

Imagine, if you will, this season's Ducks team with Troy Brown as the centerpiece. 

Brown entered the NBA after his freshman season and went to the Washington Wizards at No. 16.  Had he remained at Oregon, he could have helped the Ducks maybe win the Pac-12 regular season even without Bol Bol. 

The reality is that most Final Four teams are led by either future NBA players with some seasoning, and/or battle-tested upperclassmen that play the game at such a mentally high level that younger, more talented teams can't compete. 

Look at Duke. It features two players in Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett that could go one-two in this year's NBA Draft yet that team didn't go as far as the Ducks did in 2017 with not one first-round pick. The Blue Devils, before losing to Michigan State in the Elite Eight, barely got by Central Florida (77-76) and Virginia Tech (75-73). 

What the Ducks did have in 2017 were three future second-round picks in Brooks, Jordan Bell and Tyler Dorsey, that had been around a couple of years and were running with a senior in Chris Boucher that is now with the Atlanta Hawks after going undrafted following a knee injury. That combination of talent and experience led the Ducks to the Final Four. 

King, as an experience sophomore with NBA potential, would be deadly, much like Brooks two years ago as a junior. Brown would have been the same but he left early. The comparison of King to Brown in terms of potential impact as sophomores is real but the comparison between the two as NBA prospects is murky.

Brown pretty much had to leave. He was almost a lottery pick and is making millions. King, on the other hand, is not considered to be a sure-fire NBA Draft pick. In fact, NBADraft.net does not list King in its two-round mock draft and neither does HoopsHype.com

That all could change if King were to workout well at the NBA combine, and online mock drafts don't necessarily reflect what NFL scouts are thinking. But as of now, King doesn't appear to be a lock to get drafted. 

For Oregon's sake, it should hope that King decides to return and attempt to play his way into becoming a potential first-round pick in 2020, rather than chase the dream too soon and end up toiling in the G League. With Dana Altman coaching, the team buying into playing elite defense, a glut of young talent and the likely return of Pritchard and Wooten, Mr. King could be set up for a glorious sophomore season. 

Without him, Oregon will still be good next season. There is no denying that. But the Ducks won't have a legitimate chance of reaching the Final Four without the return of its King. 

Former Oregon Duck Joe Young drops “74-piece chicken nugget” in CBA game

Former Oregon Duck Joe Young drops “74-piece chicken nugget” in CBA game

That. Is. A. Lot. Of. Points.

Former Oregon Duck men’s basketball guard Joe Young recorded 74 points in the Chinese Basketball Association on Monday night. 

Despite this effort, Monkey King lost the game 125-110.

But the individual performance was historical. It’s the 3rd best scoring output in CBA history. Errick McCollum, older brother of Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, holds the record at 82 points.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Two days earlier, Young recorded a near triple-double: 51 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

This season with Monkey King, Young is averaging 36.6 points, 6.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds. 

See the full CBA schedule here.

‘Joey Buckets’ was selected in the second round (No. 43 overall) by the Indiana Pacers in the 2015 NBA Draft. He spent three seasons with the Pacers and backed up point guards George Hill, Ty Lawson and Rodney Stuckey. The next season, he backed up Jeff Teague and fellow Duck Aaron Brooks. There just wasn’t enough minutes for the Oregon prodigy.


A transfer from the University of Houston, Young played two seasons in an Oregon Ducks uniform (both under current head coach Dana Altman).

2013-2014 (RS-JUNIOR):

Young led the team in scoring (18.9 points per game), minutes (31.1 per game), field goals made (206), 3-PT field goals made (76), free throws made (155) and steals (44). He was a Second-Team All-Pac-12 selection following his inagrural year in Eugene, Oregon.

STATS: Averaged 18.9 points, 1.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game.

The Ducks finished 10-8 in the Pac-12 conference, a 24-10 overall record and an NCAA Tournament third-round appearance. 

2014-2015 (RS-SENIOR):

Named the Pac-12 Player of the Year, also earned first-team All-Pac-12 accolades. Young finished season second in the country and first in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (92.5 percent) and set the Pac-12 and Oregon career free throw percentage marks at .900 (279-of-310). Was ninth in the country and first in the Pac-12 in scoring at 20.7 points per game and was sixth in the conference in assists per game (3.8).

STATS: Averaged 20.7 points, 3.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game.

The Ducks finished with a 13-5 conference record, 26-10 overall record and a trip to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Marcus Mariota & other Oregon legends approve of Civil War name change

Marcus Mariota & other Oregon legends approve of Civil War name change

Last month, Oregon and Oregon State issued a joint statement announcing that neither school will continue to refer to the Oregon-Oregon State rivalry game as the Civil War, due to associations with the American Civil War.  

"Today’s announcement is not only right but is a long time coming, and I wish to thank former Duck great Dennis Dixon for raising the question and being the catalyst for change," said Oregon Director of Athletics Rob Mullens. "Thanks also to our current student-athletes for their leadership and input during this process. We must all recognize the power of words and the symbolism associated with the Civil War. This mutual decision is in the best interests of both schools, and I would like to thank Scott Barnes for his diligence as we worked through this process. We look forward to our continued and fierce in-state rivalry with Oregon State in all sports."

[RELATED]: Oregon-Oregon State no longer using "Civil War" name for its sports rivalry games

The reaction has been mixed. Many former players such as Dennis Dixon came out in support of the name change but others such as Tyson Coleman and Thomas Tyner, both Oregon natives, disagreed with the decision.

[RELATED]: Oregon natives Tyson Coleman, Thomas Tyner disagree with Civil War name change

“Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. It is the Civil War,” former Lake Oswego linebacker Tyson Coleman texted  Tyson Alger of The Athletic. “Quote me.”

“Well, I’m right there with Tyson,” texted Thomas Tyner, an Aloha High School legend who played at both Oregon and Oregon State in college. “I think it’s nothing but stupid.”

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

However, of the athletes speaking about the decision, more tended to lean towards changing the name as a good idea.

Tuesday afternoon, Oregon Football tweeted out a video of former Ducks players voicing their approval of the name change.

Of those featured includes Heisman winner Marcus Mariota, Joey Harrington, Kenjon Barner, Jonathan Stewart, Geoff Schwartz, and Jeff Maehl

"If my brother comes to me and says my words and my actions are hurting them, I first listen, and then I make a change," said Harrington.

"Regardless of the color of your skin, we are all in this together," added Stewart. "All of us."

Our brothers are speaking and we are listening. I support this change and our family should too. - Marcus Mariota

The players also all reiterated that "the name is not the game," and saying that the rivalry will still be heated without the name.

"The game between the Ducks and the Beavers is one of the greatest rivalries in all of college football," said Maehl. 

He will continue to believe that even without the name of the Civil War, both Universities want their fans to feel the same way.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Sabrina Ionescu channels inner Steph Curry with half-court shot + shimmy

Sabrina Ionescu channels inner Steph Curry with half-court shot + shimmy

Well, doesn’t this look awfully familiar.

Sabrina Ionescu is set to make her WNBA debut on Saturday, July 25 against the Seattle Storm to tip-off the 2020 WNBA season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

All 12 teams are currently in the ‘wubble’ (WNBA bubble) and prepping for the regular season.

In one of the more highly anticipated professional debuts, a lot of eyes will be drawn to that first game on July 25 by those wanting to see how Ionescu’s game, after a very successful and historical collegiate career at Oregon, will translate to the WNBA. 

Looks like one part of her dynamic game hasn’t changed at all: her uncanny ability to drain half-court shots.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Hold up… was that a Steph Curry shimmy after the ball went in?

Looks familiar…

Well, it’s not all that surprising seeing that Ionescu and Curry are really good friends. Curry took his daughters to sit courtside when the Oregon Ducks faced the Cal Golden Bears last season in Pac-12 conference play. Ionescu recorded a triple-double that night. When the Golden State Warriors were in Portland, Oregon for the Western Conference Finals last season, Ionescu made sure to see Curry after the game. 

Oh, and then there was that time when Curry was trying to get Ionescu to sign with Under Armour after college, but she ended up signing with Nike.

These two Bay Area prodigies sure know how to make a splash (and shimmy).

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Sabrina Ionescu vs. Sue Bird is the perfect matchup to tip-off 2020 WNBA season

Sabrina Ionescu vs. Sue Bird is the perfect matchup to tip-off 2020 WNBA season

The Oregon women’s basketball team took the sports world by storm the night of Saturday, November 9, 2019.

It was that night that no college team has done in over 20 years. 

The Ducks handed Team USA a loss.

It may have only been a 93-86 exhibition win, but it was a win regardless that sparked an entire season of making history and breaking records.

The dynamic trio of Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally combined for 73 of Oregon’s 93 points total.

Sabrina Ionescu: 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds.

Ruthy Hebard: 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Satou Sabally: 25 points

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

When Oregon took down Team USA last season at Matthew Knight Arena, it sort of felt like a ceremonial passing of the torch. 

18-year veteran and three-time WNBA Champion Sue Bird guarding Sabrina Ionescu was a basketball fans’ dream. And now, we get to watch it all over again, this time with both players at the professional level.

The 2020 WNBA season will tip-off with the New York Liberty and No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft Sabrina Ionescu vs. the Seattle Storm on Saturday, July 25 at 9 AM (PT) at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

[RELATED]: 2020 WNBA schedule: Everything you need to know + key dates

I think it’s a perfect way to start the season.

You have one of the most anticipated WNBA debuts in a long time with Ionescu taking the court in seafoam blue. And on the other side, the return of Sue Bird and 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart for the Storm, who is returning to the court following an Achilles tear in 2019.

This game that kicks off the WNBA season could see it’s best ratings yet, especially after the 2020 WNBA Draft had 387,000 viewers tune in, a 123% increase from 2019 and the most-watched since 2004.

We're playing with no pressure, no one expects us to succeed so having that underdog mentality is going to help us. — Sabrina Ionescu told reporters on Monday.

Never underestimate Sabrina Ionescu.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Former Oregon QB Vernon Adams Jr. eyeing possible return to Eugene

Former Oregon QB Vernon Adams Jr. eyeing possible return to Eugene

With everything going on in the world relating to the coronavirus pandemic and how it impacts the sports world, let’s put that on hold for just a moment and relish in what could be interesting news for the Oregon football program.

Head coach Mario Cristobal has been on a tear lately in terms of recruiting. The Ducks have the No. 1 recruiting class in the Pac-12 Conference and the No. 5 nationally for 2021.

But there is one player, who played for the Ducks for just one season, that looks to be eyeing a possible return to Eugene, Oregon.

Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The 5-foot-11 quarterback transferred to Oregon in 2015 after a successful tenure at Eastern Washington University leading the Eagles to a 28-6 record when Adams was the starter.

When Adams took over the reigns of the Oregon offense in 2015, he immediately fit right in with the up-tempo pace. Adams completed 168-of-259 passes (64.9%) for 2,643 yards, 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 2015.

His lone season will go down as one of the bigger ‘what if’ seasons in Oregon football history.

NBC Sports Northwest’s Dylan Mickanen writes:

“The Ducks only lost two games with Adams starting this season, one of those was to soon-to-be College Football Playoff finalist Michigan State in East Lansing because Adams overthrew a wide-open Byron Marshall for a game-winning touchdown with 1:24 left. Except, Adams played that game with a broken pinky. A healthy Adams doesn't overthrow that pass and who knows, maybe he can keep Oregon in the game against Utah the next week. 

“When a healthy Adams returned against Washington, Oregon wouldn't lose again, including an upset of then-No. 8 Stanford (38-36) and dismantling of then-No. 22 USC (48-28), until the Alamo Bowl where Adams got injured again with a 31-0 lead. 

“Adams led the entire nation in yards per attempt with 10.2, which was higher than Mariota's Heisman season, and a passer rating of 179.09. SB Nation College Football Writer Bill Connely wrote that Adams would have been a Heisman finalist if he doesn't get hurt.

Adams spent time in the CFL following his one season in Eugene, Oregon. 

[RELATED]: Ranking the Oregon Ducks starting quarterbacks of the 2010s

Adams doesn't have any collegiate eligibility remaining, however, he could come back as an analyst or something along those lines in Cristobal's staff. He does have a great football brain having mastered Helfrich's playbook in just a month after he transferred.  

The future of the quarterback position at Oregon is already shaping up to be an interesting competition. When spring football concluded after just a handful of practices (cut short due to COVID-19), Cristobal announced it was Tyler Shough’s job to lose. However, Boston College transfer quarterback Anthony Brown, with his experience, sure makes things interesting along with freshmen Jay Butterfield already on campus as well as incoming 2021 quarterback Ty Thompson.

Maybe Adams can help guide the next guard of the quarterbacks in Eugene. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Jevon Holland, Kayvon Thibodeaux named to 2020 Bednarik watch list

Jevon Holland, Kayvon Thibodeaux named to 2020 Bednarik watch list

Should the 2020 collegiate football season not happen altogether, it would be a real shame for many reasons but one of the rather sad ones will be not getting to see the potential dominance this 2020 Oregon defense has in store not just for the Pac-12 conference but in the nation.

[RELATED]: Oregon football projected to have nation’s 2nd-best defense in 2020

On a more positive note, two Oregon Ducks have been named to the 2020 Chuck Bednarik watch list, which is presented annually to the College Defensive Player of the Year. Those two Ducks are Jevon Holland and Kayvon Thibodeaux.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Here’s why:


The 6-foot-1, 200-pound safety immediately made an impact on the program the moment he stepped onto the football field.

Holland was a consensus four-star recruit and rated the No. 2 safety in the state of California coming out of Bishop O’Dowd High School in Pleasanton, Calif.

In 2018, Holland finished second in the Pac-12 and tied for 10th nationally with a team-high five interceptions. 2019 was more of the same story: One of four FBS players with four or more interceptions in both 2018 and 2019 and tied for the Pac-12 and team lead with four INTs. Holland is the first Duck to lead the team in INTs back-to-back seasons since Jairus Byrd (2006 & 2007).

Holland now enters his junior season as one of the best safeties in the game. He is one of three returning FBS players with four or more INTs each of the last two years. The Oregon secondary is poised for a dominant season ahead, returning starters Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir, Brady Breeze, Nick Pickett along with Holland. 


The No. 1 ranked recruit in the 2019 class made headlines when he committed to the University of Oregon on national television.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end from South Central Los Angeles, California is Oregon’s second highest commit in program history. His college debut in 2019 was nothing short of dominant, in part due to his quickness off the line matched with the physical tools. 

As a freshman, Thibodeaux led the nation with seven sacks in the fourth quarter. He set the program freshman record with a team-high 9.0 sacks and also led the way with 14.0 tackles for loss. The year concluded in a plethora of Freshman All-American awards.

Thibodeaux now enters his sophomore season with still lots left in the tank.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks have a pipeline of Top-10 NFL Draft picks for years to come

The Pac-12 Conference announced on Friday that it has canceled all non-conference play this upcoming season following in the footsteps of the Big Ten Conference who was the first power-5 conference to cancel all non-conference play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One can only hope that the season does play out (safely, of course) so the nation can have a look at what this Oregon defense is poised to accomplish in 2020...

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Four-star DE Keanu Williams commits to the Oregon Ducks over USC

Four-star DE Keanu Williams commits to the Oregon Ducks over USC

Oregon continues to dominate West Coast recruiting. 

Four-star defensive end Keanu Williams has committed to the Oregon Ducks via his Instagram Live Saturday evening becoming the 17th addition to the 2021 Oregon recruiting class.

After committing, Williams said he wants to bring a National Championship to Oregon.

[RELATED]: Meet the 2021 Oregon Ducks recruiting class so far

247Sports ranks Keanu as the nation's No. 21 strongside defensive end and No. 27 overall player in California while composite ranking has him at No. 20 SDE, No. 30 player in California and No. 313 overall player in the country.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

With his commitment, Oregon remains the No. 5 recruiting class in the nation thus far and narrows the small gap between them and Tennesse, North Carolina, and Clemson who are barely ahead of them.  By Rivals rankings, the Ducks jumped to No. 3.

The 6'5", 290-pound prospect from Clovis, CA received an official offer from the Ducks back in January of 2019 and has been tweeting more and more about Oregon as of late.

Given his twitter activity and general sense around the program, Williams was considered an Oregon lean for a while now with 100% of 247Sports crystal balls predicting the Ducks as his destination. 

Oregon beat out fellow finalists Stanford, USC, and UCLA for Williams' commitment.

247Sports national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman compares Williams to Lawrence Guy of the New England Patriots and sees the newest Ducks commit as a Day 3 NFL Draft pick.

Has a quick first step and plays with leverage, using his length to get to the ball carrier and quarterback. Can get caught overpursuing but shows ability to get to the play quickly. Good at dipping and ripping, showing a variety of moves but also using his strength and physicality overpower blockers. Plays with consistency and shows a good motor and routinely makes impact plays. Projects as a Power 5 starter and third day NFL pick.

Willaims joins Terrell Tilmon as the only two defensive ends in the 2021 recruiting class so far, however, Brandon Buckner also projects to line up on the edge. They will join a program that has defensive ends Kayvon Thibodeaux, John Harvey, and Bradyn Swinson. Thibodeaux likely only has two years left with the program as he's projected to be a top-five NFL Draft selection in 2022. 

If Tilmon and Williams redshirt, they should be poised to start as freshmen with Thibodeaux leaving for the NFL. 

Also, Williams states he's a defensive tackle in his Twitter bio so if Andy Avalos lines him up in the middle, he will look to replace graduating seniors Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu in the middle.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Oregon Ducks linebacker Ge'mon Eaford has transferred

Oregon Ducks linebacker Ge'mon Eaford has transferred

Mario Cristobal coaches a program that embraces competition-- A program that always looks to add talent and where no spot is safe. 

By consequence, the program will lose players who do not see an opportunity to get playing time.

That appears to have happened with sophomore linebacker Ge'mon Eaford who has transferred to Fort Scott Community College in Kansas according to James Crepea of The Oregonian. 

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Eaford was a four-star linebacker in Oregon's 2019 recruiting class that finished first in the Pac-12 and seventh in the country. Per 247Sports, composite score ranked him as the country's No. 10 outside linebacker and No. 193 overall prospect. He was recruited primarily by then-Oregon outside linebackers coach Cort Dennison, now at Louisville, and then-cornerbacks coach Donté Williams, now at USC.

Saturday, Eaford tweeted that his "recruitment is open to all schools."

Now since his commitment, the Ducks secured a pair of five-star linebackers in Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell in 2020, and have the nation's No. 2 ILB Keith Brown as a hard verbal commit for 2021. Add in Mase Funa, another 2019 linebacker recruit who saw significant playing time as a freshman, and there may not have been a spot for Eaford.

As a true freshman, the 6'1", 228-pound Eaford played in ten games but primarily on kickoff coverage with just 28 total snaps on defense. He registered one tackle in an Oregon uniform.

Eaford's departure allows Oregon to be at 85 scholarship players for the upcoming season after George Moore petitioned for a sixth year of eligibility. While that has not been approved yet, Moore has returned to campus for voluntary workouts. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Official: Pac-12 to play all-conference schedule for all fall sports

Official: Pac-12 to play all-conference schedule for all fall sports

Thursday, the Big Ten announced plans to have all fall sports play only conference opponents, eliminating all non-conference match-ups.

Among the events canceled was Oregon's highly anticipated hosting of Ohio State and Heisman candidate Justin Fields. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes officially postponed

Now, the Pac-12 is expected to make the same decision and officially announce an all-conference schedule across all fall athletics in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, per Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic.

The Pac-12 plans to become the second football conference to make the decision following in the footsteps of the Big Ten with an announcement expected for later Friday.

UPDATE: The Pac-12 has officially unveiled the conference's plan for the upcoming fall season.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

"Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student-athletes, and we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront,” said Michael Schill, Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and President of the University of Oregon.

The conference also said that all student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the coming academic year because of safety concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.

The Pac-12 has developed a series of potential fall sport scheduling models including Conference-only schedules and delayed season starts and details on Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31.

The Pac-12's course of action will cancel anticipated matchups such as USC vs. Alabama, Oregon State traveling to Oklahoma State, TCU vs California, Colorado at Texas A&M, and Notre Dame's games against USC and Stanford. 

Additionally, Oregon's season-opener against potential first-round quarterback Trey Lance and the FCS Champion North Dakota State Bison will also not be played in 2020, if at all. 

5:30p.m. UPDATE: According to James Crepea of the Oregonian, Oregon’s AD Rob Mullens says the conference’s plan is to announce details on the updated schedules no later than July 31. And in regards to NDSU, Ohio State, and Hawaii, Mullens said they will be working with all three programs to get those games back on the Ducks' schedule in the future.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The move is just the next step in the likely scenario of all conferences keeping athletic competition in-conference to minimize any potential spread of the coronavirus.

For the Pac-12, it makes sense to go this route, especially after marquee out-of-conference games, Michigan vs. Washington and Oregon vs. Ohio State, being canceled for 2020 one day prior to this anticipated announcement.

The Pac-12 had already been in talks of only playing conference games when the Big Ten made their decision, USC head coach Clay Helton said as much back in May.

Now two months later, California, home to a third of the Pac-12 conference, has the most lifetime coronavirus cases among all states with more than 289,000 per the CDC. That's 70,000 more than Florida who has always had lax guidelines for handling the pandemic. 

 After the Big Ten's call, Bryan Fischer of College Football Talk reported that the Pac-12 was expected to follow suit, and they will.

However, the other four Power-5 conferences were reportedly upset at the Big Ten's decision because they were under the impression a conclusion would be made between all five of them. Now conferences, such as the SEC, reportedly feel forced into a corner where they need to comply and move to an SEC-only schedule.

After the Big Ten's decision, both Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens and Washington Athletic Director Jen Cohen announced that the programs are working with their respective Big Ten opponents to reschedule a trip to the Pacific Northwest. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].