The Pac-12 Conference's commissioner said late Wednesday that its college football teams would move to resume practices and “return to competition” amid the coronavirus pandemic after the Big Ten Conference announced that it would go ahead with a fall football season.
Larry Scott said in a statement shared on Twitter that “state public health officials will allow for contact practice and return to competition," adding that “there are no state restrictions on our ability to play sports in light of our adherence to strict health and safety protocols and stringent testing requirements, including our recently announced partnership with Quidel which will enable daily rapid results testing.”
“We are eager for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play this season, as soon as it can be done safely and in accordance with public health authority approvals,” Scott said.
Scott also called on the California and Oregon universities in the conference to reach out to county and other local health officials for guidance on how to safely return to practice and competition.
Statement from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott on positive developments from governors of California and Oregon: pic.twitter.com/bZVuGT6vuW— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) September 16, 2020
The announcement came hours after the Big Ten said it would officially start its football season the weekend of Oct. 23. It initially postponed games last month due to the pandemic.
President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE took to Twitter Wednesday to praise the Big Ten’s decision to start its football season and later urged the Pac-12 to follow suit.
"I want to recommend that the Pac-12 also get going because there's no reason why Pac-12 shouldn't be playing now," Trump said. "Pac-12, you're the only one now. Open up. Open up, Pac-12. Get going."
According to ESPN, Scott had released a statement Wednesday morning that said schools in California and Oregon were not approved to start the football season. By the afternoon, however, California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia to replace 'alien' with 'noncitizen,' 'immigrant' in state laws The Memo: Trump's Arizona embarrassment sharpens questions for GOP California to launch program tracking violent deaths in LGBTQ+ community MORE (D) and Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownOregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps Oregon governor sued by police, firefighters over vaccine mandate Unvaccinated employee sparked COVID-19 outbreak at Oregon assisted living facility: officials MORE (D) issued statements saying that governmental restrictions did not necessarily prevent a Pac-12 season from happening, it added.
About five hours after Scott's initial statement was released, Newsom reportedly said there was nothing in the state guidelines that prevents the Pac-12 from resuming play.
Scott said Wednesday during an interview on ESPN's "SportsCenter" that conference officials are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the options and that the “best-case scenario is six weeks of practice, training camp and starting [the season] end of October, early November.” However, Scott added that this projection is dependent on approval from county health departments.