Last week the Pac-12 announced a shift to a conference-only fall schedule amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement came one day after another major conference, the Big Ten, opted to eliminate non-conference games for fall sports.
A day after the announcement, Oregon State Athletic Director Scott Barnes said with so much unknown about the future of the pandemic, there’s still a possibility games won’t be played at all. “This decision doesn’t suggest we’re playing this fall,” he said. “This decision suggests that collectively we’re unified in moving forward with PAC-12 competition if our local and state health authorities tell us it’s ok. And that drives all of this.”
The decision to play only Pac-12 games applies to football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Athletes in those sports have been participating in voluntary workouts since mid-June. Mandatory practices were set to begin on July 13, but that has been postponed.
In a release, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said “the health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority.” He added that “our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”
The release also made it clear that the Pac-12’s “student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the coming academic year because of safety concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.”
Conference-only schedules for the fall sports will be announced by the end of the month.
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