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Pac-12 says 2020 football season could start in late October

(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.

Coronavirus / News / Top Stories

Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.



  1. The three Left Coast governors are committed to lockdown strategies for political reasons which far exceed any health issues for young strong athletes. The universities in those states won’t dare to raise any opposition.

    1. Crazy. I am having to take my high schooler to red states to Wrestle because blue state royalty can’t let people make decisions for themselves. 68 active COVID cases (of 200,000 residents) in all of Deschutes County – why are kids not in school?! Watch blue state athletes miss out on college recruitment because of political games that have nothing to do with them. Its coming…

    2. Very true. If you compare an electoral map of the country with a map depicting states that high school sports are being played in right now it almost perfectly lines up. All the states that are red are playing sports including football and have been for weeks yet not one single case of a high school athlete coming down with Corona linked to the sport. Sickening that the kids, especially athletes, are being used as political pawns. Know the data and stop being ignorant please.

        Umm… As usual you’re speaking about things you don’t understand. Here’s two links off the first page of a google search. Like your idiot-in-chief, apparently you think folks can’t check up on your little lies. Know the data and stop being ignorant please.

        1. So a couple of kids tested positive…? Some young people and their families may have been exposed to something that has very little chance at all of being anything more serious than the common cold to them, and they have to stay away from people for just 14 days? I’d happily take that over what we have here, as would every other family that I know.

        2. Nero are you ignorant or just stupid? 1 player from each of those games tested positive? You do realize that in order for that athlete to have contracted Covid due to playing the football game another player would have needed to test positive as well. You understand you cannot contract it from someone who doesn’t have it right? No other player in either of those games tested positive, meaning ….let me slow it down for you….they didn’t contract it from the game. You found 2 instances of this, while there have been thousands of games already played all around the country (in red states). 1 more question. How many players were hospitalized or died from this? You want all sports to shut down for 2 positive cases not even contracted from the sports themselves? Asinine in the very least. The risk to people 20 and under is .2% for death. The risk NASA just published for the meteor that is passing by Earth in early Nov to impact the planet is .4% (twice as likely). Your logic is based in fear.

            1. You just got publicly worked by facts- and all you could respond with was a personal attack- subsequently- admitting defeat !

              Your posts (in particular) should be archived and saved by every basic “Debate 101” Jr high school team on how “not” to engage a superior opponent !

              I mean cripes- at least try and BS your way out of it- but banal simplistic name calling and foot stomping tantrums ??? Whatta loser- and a Pervert !

            2. Ah look at that sick little slimy mind show itself. You should stop projecting as it’s a little to obvious buddy. But hey, it always gives me a little chuckle when keyboard warriors dodge questions and logic. Good times.

  2. Ha-Ha…. I called it the day the PAC12 attempted to push political propaganda by opting out of the Fall season because of the Wuhan bat Joe virus from China. That as soon as the other leagues ignore their stupidity- the PAC will start moon-walking back their stance and start stammerin’ around looking for excuses- which they found…

    “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.”

    Bwahahaaaa- he just tossed that rag doll “Hate Brown” right under the University Band’s Bus !

    How hilarious is all this- as it’s pretty clear now that… the “P” in PAC stands for…

    “PANIC” !!!

    Hate Brown better do something fast- The Oregon Ducks are about to lose their five star athletes to Oklahoma State !

    1. Funny how you think ‘Joe’ has anything to do with the virus from China, he’s too busy awkwardly hugging and sniffing women and young girl’s hair. The good news for OSU is that they won’t be able to lose as much this season.

  3. It’s just a game, it has no bearing on real life. Sports can and should take a backseat to anything else. While I support getting people back into classrooms, at least on a hybrid in class/distance learning mix, collegiate sports shouldn’t even be on the horizon for this year.

    1. From a spectator’s standpoint, you may be correct. For the college kids with big league dreams? High school kids who’s best shot at higher learning is athletics? Children who need physical activity and competition?

      Distance learning is a joke, BTW. I have one in HS and one in elementary doing it now… My college kid chose to forego the term because it wasn’t worth the money.

    2. You obviously know very little about what is taught on and off the field by the majority of amazing sport coaches across the country. The benefits of sports is clear as day in any research you will find relating to mental health, lifetime physical health, and teamwork. These coaches coach sport but they also mentor youth which if you ask most of them is more important then the game itself. You have no idea the true effect of shutting sports down.

    3. “It’s just a game”

      But it is the game of life ! And everything you need to know about life is either learned in kindergarten or through sports- how to treat people- the basic rules of life- lessons in hard work- strategy- how to win- how to lose- how to face adversity- learning about your personal strengths and weaknesses- it’s all right there in sports… even for the physically awkward- clumsy- there are life lessons in sports… things you cannot learn through the arts- through books- or through religious studies.

      for those who recognize the importance of sports- the human experience is easy to understand… for those who refuse these lessons- I give you “Kate Brown” !

      Yeh- like ya didn’t see that comin’ !!!

    1. That’s not the point !

      There are athletes who are striving for the next level- and who are you or anybody else to deny them that opportunity… even Michael Jordan was cut from his first year High School team… and the rest they say- is history !

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