After the USC football team penned a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking for clearance to resume team activities, Oregon football is following suit.
In a letter to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Ducks quarterback Tyler Shough urged Brown to consider allowing players and coaches to resume play.
“I ask you to consider the many athletes and coaches who want and need to play,” Shough said. “The Pac-12’s partnership with the Quidel Corporation for rapid testing gives us the assurance that several players were asking for. With frustration, we have watched other conferences and teams play, knowing our medical standards are as good or better than theirs. I know we cannot operate in a bubble and nothing is guaranteed. We simply want answers, clarity and the opportunity to OPT IN to play.”
He continued, “We know our health and safety is your priority and respect your decisions thus far. However, with new rapid testing, your standards for our safety and Oregon’s medical protocol, we believe it is safe to play. #LetUsPlay”
Shough’s letter, which was shared on Twitter late Tuesday, comes hours after Oregon wide receiver Mycah Pittman and members of the Ducks coaching staff asked the Pac-12 to allow players the opportunity to opt in or out of the 2020 season.
After the conference announced it would postpone fall football, a number of Ducks including tackle Penei Sewell and corners Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham opted not to return to Oregon in the delayed Pac-12 season. The trio will instead turn their focus on the upcoming NFL Draft.
The Big Ten is expected to announce it approved an 8-game slate beginning on October 17, as Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday. If the Big Ten does indeed reverse its decision, the Pac-12 would be the only Power Five conference to not participate in fall football.
As of now, there is no set date for the Pac-12’s return to play. Following the conference’s announcement that it will partner with rapid COVID-19 test maker, Quidel Corporation, Commissioner Larry Scott said he was confident the conference will play football in January.
“Right now, I’ve got high-degree confidence we’re playing in January,” Scott said. “It’s possible because of this announcement we could play sooner.”
He mentioned there would be several other hurdles the Pac-12 would have to overcome, too. Six of the Pac-12’s teams, including Oregon’s two schools Oregon and Oregon State, still lack government approval to have contact practice.
“I know the approvals have been given for pro sports, but not college sports,” Scott said. “So, we’ll need some help from the counties, public health officials, to bless this and say it’s OK.”
Will Gov. Brown offer her blessing? Oregon and the rest of the Pac-12 are depending on it.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon football coach Mario Cristobal]