The Pac-12 conference has announced that it will not have a fall sports season and will delay all sports for the rest of the calendar year. The decision, which was expected, became official on Tuesday.

As of now, the conference will re-evaluate the standing for all sports after January 1, 2021.

“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,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said.  “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.”

“All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans,” Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon, said. “Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”

The decision came shortly after the Big Ten Conference decided to cancel its fall campaign. As of now, the Big Ten is hoping to potentially play in the spring.

Prior to the Pac-12 officially postponing the season, there were already legitimate questions if sports would be played at all in the fall. Citing health concerns and racial injustice issues, football players throughout the conference had come together and threatened to opt out of the 2020 season if the Pac-12 did not meet certain demands for improvement in different areas.

 

With two Power 5 conferences bowing out of the fall campaign, the fate of the college football season rests largely on the shoulders of the Big 12, SEC and ACC. All conferences are continuously meeting to come to a decision. A report on Monday stated that the ACC is set on playing the season.

There are still numerous players, coaches and powerful voices that want to see football in the coming months. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence helped propel the #WeWantToPlay movement on social media which featured Power 5 athletes asking for sports to continue with increased protocols, guaranteed eligibility and more. President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the movement.

Even with some wanting to move forward, the risk of playing through the pandemic may outweigh the reward. Besides the initial fear of infection and contact, underlying issues connected to the coronavirus that has been found in college athletes have programs and administrators concerned about the long term impact of the virus.

For now, it's unknown who exactly could be taking the field in the fall, But what is known is that the Pac-12 is joining the Big Ten on the sidelines. 

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