Thanks to the Pac-12, the Big Ten has football scheduling company.
Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season. All other fall sports are impacted in the same way. It was expected that the ACC and Pac-12 would quickly follow suit. The ACC, though, released a statement earlier Friday in which that conference revealed it won’t make a decision on. Fall sports until late July.
The Pac-12, however, isn’t waiting as that league announced Friday evening that it too will be going to a conference-only football schedule. As was the case with the Big Ten, this will apply to all fall sports as well.
“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 in a statement. “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.
According to the conference, “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 expects to announce its conference-only schedules, including for football, no later than July 31.
Among the games impacted by this decision are Alabama-USC and Texas A&M-Colorado. It had previously been discussed that Alabama could replace USC with TCU for the opener. Whether that is still in play remains to be seen.
Both the Big 12 and SEC are expected to announce its plans by the end of the month.