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Pac-12 Football: A clear path to resuming play has been paved

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A major hurdle was jumped over Wednesday, which could lead to the return of Pac-12 football!

While no written plans to Oregon Governor Kate Brown's office means the Pac-12’s 2020 football season is still on pause for the foreseeable future, many key figures have advanced the discussion forward. 

Earlier in the day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom denied that the state’s regulations were preventing the Pac-12 from holding games after Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott issued a statement urging players to write to their state officials to lift government regulations that are slowing the conference’s ability to return.

“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 Wednesday. “There’s nothing in the guidelines that denies these games from occurring.”

And now Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's spokesman Charles Boyle has sent out a statement on the idling Pac-12 season. 

"Representatives of the University of Oregon and Oregon Sate University athletic departments met with the Oregon Health Authority this afternoon to discuss their COVID-19 health and safety plans for their football teams."

Boyle went on to say, “the teams have asked for an exemption to OHA’s sports guidance, just as Oregon’s professional sports teams have been given. 

We have granted that request, and, under the new guidance, OHA must receive written plans for approval.

After Newsom and Brown's announcements, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott released the following statement: 

 

As reported by Mercury News writer Jon Wilner, rapid-response antigen tests, provided by Quidel Corp, will allow football teams to test players for COVID-19 immediately before practice and games, thereby preventing on-field transmission by pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic players.

Per Wilner, the Quidel product tests were 96 percent to 98 percent accurate in sensitivity (finding the antigens) and 100 percent accurate in specificity (finding the right antigens).

These tests are expected to arrive by the end of the month for use on a daily basis by athletes in six contact sports: football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s water polo, and wrestling.

Gov. Brown’s office laid out the exact language that will be needed from both OSU and Oregon in order to seek approval to get back on the field:

Pac-12 Conference teams wishing to play in the State of Oregon must submit protocols to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Governor’s office to ensure training, competition and play aligns with all public health guidelines and county phase requirements. Training, competition, and play cannot resume until protocols are reviewed and approved by the Governor’s office and OHA. Pac-12 Conference sports that are practiced and played within the state of Oregon are exempt from all other sports guidance issued, including the Statewide Collegiate, Semi Professional, and Minor League Sports, limited to Return to Play guidance. Pac-12 Conference sports teams are expected to adhere to the standards developed by each of their leagues around practice, playing, contact tracing, testing, quarantine, and any other applicable area of consideration.

Another qualification for returning to the field is that all sporting events to be played in Oregon will have to have entered the OHA Phase Two of Reopening Guidance plan.

Boyle also stressed that they had not yet received any written plans from the Pac-12 for the upcoming football season. 

According to Heather Dinich, Pac-12 officials are meeting Friday. 

On Tuesday, the Big Ten's Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted in favor of returning to play for the 2020 season.

Teams will begin their season on October 23-24.

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This story is updating