As the SEC took the step to allow college football players to return to campus and begin voluntary workouts on June 8, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott provided some optimism that the season will start as scheduled for teams in his conference.
Both Scott and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey were on CNN on Friday and the Pac-12 boss said that training camps for Pac-12 programs could start as soon as late July. Assuming, that is, the trend of coronavirus cases in the conference’s footprint is heading downward.
Will college football kickoff in the fall, and if so, will there be fans in the stands?@KateBolduan puts these questions to two men facing major decisions, @SEC commissioner @GregSankey and @pac12 commissioner Larry Scott.https://t.co/oJPeUdhL5a pic.twitter.com/D5s44xvpTE
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) May 22, 2020
“If things continue to progress in a positive direction, then training camp for football could start as early as late July and we could be on a nice glide path to the start of the college football season at the end of August,” Scott said.
The Pac-12 has been viewed as the wild card of sorts among Power Five conferences as plans for the 2020 football season attempt to take shape. Pac-12 states like Washington, Oregon and California have been the most proactive and restrictive regarding social distancing guidelines. The rate of new cases has plateaued in California, Utah and Arizona and declined in Colorado, Oregon and Washington,
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said earlier in May that the state’s health advisors had recommended no sporting events with large crowds could take place through September. That means home games for Oregon and Oregon State could have to be played without fans, including Oregon’s game against Ohio State on Sept. 12.
“I think what we’re going to see is a patchwork, state-by-state on the fan issue,” Scott said about games potentially being played without fans.
It does seem like every Pac-12 school is preparing to play football in the fall. While the Cal State University system — which includes three Mountain West schools — is having classes online only in the fall, the California University system says it’s going to a “hybrid” model. That would feasibly allow football players and other athletes to be on campus and have games take place.
If the football season does happen and modifications need to be made at the start of it, the Pac-12 seems prepared for that too. USC coach Clay Helton said less than two weeks ago that the conference had discussed the possibility of playing a conference-only schedule in the fall. That, of course, led to speculation if USC wasn’t going to be playing Alabama in Week 1 in Dallas, an idea that was quickly shot down by USC athletic director Mike Bohn.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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