(Update: adding video, new details, comments from Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom)
This comes as the Big Ten announced Wednesday its season will begin Oct. 24
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Several players in the Pac-12 Conference, including a couple of Oregon Ducks standouts, are calling on state leaders to allow for a fall football season to begin.
This follows an announcement by the Big Ten Conference on Wednesday that it's eyeing a return to football in late October.
The two conferences were seemingly on the same timeline, after they both canceled their college football seasons just hours apart on Aug. 11. The plan at that point was to possibly resume play on Jan. 1, 2021.
Despite that, the Big Ten now plans on opening its 2020 season the weekend of Oct. 24.
There are two main factors that contributed to the reversal of the conference's original decision: new daily COVID-19 testing protocols and myocarditis screening plans.
The coronavirus testing for coaches and athletes is set to begin Sept. 30. Anyone who tests positive must wait 21 days before returning to competition.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, which can be associated with COVID-19.
In response to the Big Ten's announcement, several players in the conference, including star Oregon wide receiver Mycah Pittman, have spoken out this week on social media, calling for Pac-12 officials and state leaders to let the season begin.
It's not that Pac-12 officials don't want to have a fall season. They just can't promise one at the moment.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott released this statement Wednesday:
"At this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice. We are hopeful that our new daily testing capability can help satisfy public health official approvals in California and Oregon to begin contact practice and competition. We are equally closely monitoring the devastating fires and air quality in our region at this time. 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."
California Governor Gavin Newsom debunked that comment later Wednesday, saying, "I talked to Larry Scott about two hours ago, so we're committed to working with the Pac-12, working with the NCAA to keep our kids safe, to keep the coaches safe, to keep the larger campus community safe. ... There is nothing in those state guidelines that deny those games from resuming."
There is some good news that could potentially lead to an earlier start date.
On Sept. 3, the Pac-12 reached an agreement with Quidel Corporation, an FDA-approved diagnostic test leader, to implement daily COVID-19 testing for all student-athletes. Machines and tests are expected to be sent to all of the conference's athletics departments by the end of the month, and should be operational by early October.
For that reason, Pac-12 officials are hopeful its 2020 football season would also begin in late October, as long as teams get clearance at the local level in Oregon and California.
Meanwhile, the Pac-12 has not made any decision on whether fans will be able to attend games, whenever the season begins. The Big Ten, on the other hand, said tickets will not be sold this year.