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Pac-12 gets some good news, but fall football remains in holding pattern


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Pac-12 took a significant step Wednesday toward joining the Big Ten in playing football in the fall, getting clearance to hold full-fledged practices from the states of California and Oregon.

Early Wednesday, the Big Ten grabbed headlines by changing course and agreeing to set an an eight-game football schedule that would start the weekend of Oct. 24.

The Pac-12 also has reconsidered starting its football season this fall, but it has more hurdles to clear. Half of its schools have been unable to ramp up preparation for the season because of restrictions put in place by state and local authorities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Later Wednesday, the Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott announced a breakthrough with the California and Oregon governors that was helped along by the conference’s plans to soon begin testing athletes daily for the virus.

“The Pac-12 welcomes today’s statements by Governor Newsom of California and Governor Brown of Oregon that state public health officials will allow for contact practice and return to competition, and 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,” Scott said.

He added: “Our California and Oregon universities will now each individually and immediately reach out to their relevant county public health officials to seek clarification on what is required to achieve the same clearance to resume contact practice and competition.”

Earlier this month, the Pac-12 announced a partnership that would give the conference’s schools the capacity to perform daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes. Scott has called the testing a “game-changer” and it certainly proved to be so in the Big Ten. That league’s university presidents unanimously voted to return to competition in all fall sports and said their schools will begin daily antigen testing on Sept. 30.

The Pac-12 CEO Group is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the conference’s options. Because of the restrictions, it might take the teams that had been limited, including conference favorites Oregon and Southern California, more than a month to be ready to play. An Oct. 24 start, lined up with the Big Ten, could be challenging.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Scott spoke Wednesday. While there was some confusion about how the state’s rule limiting athletic activities to groups of no more than 12 could allow for football practice, ultimately things landed in a good place for the conference.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s spokesman said the two Pac-12 schools in that state met with the the Oregon Health Authority on Wednesday to discuss COVID-19 heath and safety plans for football and ask for a exemption to current sports guidance. An exemption has already be given to Oregon professional sports teams.

“We have granted that request, and, under the new guidance, OHA must receive written plans for approval,” Charles Boyle said in a statement.

Boyle said no plans had been received yet from the Pac-12.

“We want Oregon and Oregon State players to be able to focus on football while protecting their health and safety,” Boyle said. “We also want to ensure that team practices will not be derailed by a COVID-19 outbreak that would threaten the health not only of the players and coaches, but of their university communities and the wide communities of Eugene and Corvallis.”

The Big Ten and Pac-12 decided Aug. 11 to postpone all fall sports until January due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Football in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12 started last week, with the Southeastern Conference set to kick off its season on Sept. 26.

President Donald Trump pushed for the Big Ten to get back to football and had a similar sentiment for the Pac-12.

“I want to recommend Pac-12, you’re the only one now,” Trump said. “Open up, open up Pac-12.”

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. Governor Kate Brown has just approved an “exemption” for Oregon and Oregon State to play football… but “WHY” ???

    What has changed since this half-wit stomped her feet and closed not only all sports programs and events for the summer- but also schools- businesses- and our state forests !

    What the hell has changed Kate ? Today’s covid numbers show another day of 200 plus new cases ! So what exactly has changed in the pandemic world ???

    The answer is- “Nothing Has Changed”- just the pressure from University President’s who saw all the other schools opening- and none of our guys want to miss out on the NCAA paydays !

    This is just more proof of Brown’s fake pandemic- a complete hoax to point the blame of this virus on the Feds in Washington- hoping that it would hurt the President and his party… well it won’t ! And this latest move will only galvanize the evidence that the terrible summer of 2020 is all on Kate Brown and the flailing Dumbocrat party !

    Unbelievable !!!

  2. 21 hours ago- this was posted on the Oregonianlive-

    “Gov. Kate Brown, OHA grant exemption for Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers sports pending approval of Pac-12 plans”

    So where’s the same announcement here at the Z ?

    As I stated above- if this is true- and confirmed by KTVZ- this will add a huge buncha coals to the conspiracy fire that the corona wuhan bat virus lockdown was indeed a farce !

    That there was no need to close schools- universities- lock down education at the expense of your children’s mental well being- that all this “home learning” garbage is just that- garbage…

    And that teachers statewide are either outted as lazy free-loaders- choosing unemployment payoffs to stay home and fart around- or have been victims of one of the most well orchestrated scams in Oregon’s education history- as with this sudden turn of events- approval to play football at the college level- signifies a huge shift in Brown’s stated threats to keep everything shut-down until “her numbers” produce targeted results.

    It’s right there folks- Kate Brown is demonstrating through her actions- that her mandates and EO’s don’t mean squat !

    The hypocrisy by the left liberal democrats has put many of you in the poor house ! Your absolute silence and willingness to go along has put you out of business- a year behind in school- and has destroyed a full year of your life- because “Kate got it wrong” !

  3. So this has now been confirmed by KTVZ- “News you can trust” !

    That Kate Brown has now officially tossed her mandates- guidelines- and wack-a-doodle Executive orders into the scrap bin… they now have no meaning ! She’s making it up as she goes- as we all knew- and that her loyalties lie with who-ever tosses around the most cash- and that would be University Presidents- who were at risk to lose millions under her heavy-handed authoritarian rule.

    Oregonians must speak out against this concept that “money talks”- even in times of a “global pandemic” !

    Brown’s actions have been treasonous against the best interests of the state- she has no excuses !

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