The Pac-12 conference unanimously voted to postpone all athletic competition into 2021, including the 2020 college football season.
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How did we get here?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been wreaking havoc throughout the nation since March but college football had been considering many various plans leading up to the 2020 college football season.
In a press conference following the decision, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said that cancelling the season was not the first option considered.
“We’ve got scenario A,B,C,D, and E. We moved from scenario A to B when we went to a conference-only schedule," said Scott.
The Pac-12 went to an all-conference schedule in July following the footsteps of the Big Ten. Now, a month later, both conferences are also leading the charge in delaying their fall seasons into 2021.
But, the Pac-12 commissioner also reiterated that this decision is not coming from the conference per se but from health officials that deemed it unsafe to play the current season given the pandemic.
"Emerging Data about health risks, especially the cardiac side effects we don't know about," said Dr. Akerman on the call.
“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”
Scott said that the conference cannot put the athletes in a bubble, a method that has allowed the NBA, WNBA, NWSL, MLS, NHL, and PLL all play safely, due to the connectivity between the players and the campus.
"We cannot bubble our student-athletes like pro sports can," said Scott. "We are part of broader campus communities. Student-athletes are living with pure students and on-campus interacting [with them.]"
Scott later stressed that despite already delaying the beginning of the season to September 26, the conference needs more time for the pandemic to get better. That there were too many questions and too much uncertainty to safely play a season this fall.
“We have responsibilities and accountability," said Arizona State Athletic Director Ray Anderson.
The conference hopes to have a spring college football season, if safe to play.
Hopefully, it will be.
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