Any plans for the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten in returning to football are on hold due to health policies in two states within the conference.
The Big Ten changed course Wednesday and said it will begin an eight-game football schedule on Oct. 23.
The Pac-12 has also reconsidered starting its football season this fall, but does not have approval from state and local health officials in California and Oregon to conduct contact practices.
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. The rapid testing was seen as an avenue for the conference to begin playing football and other sports sooner than expected, but health policies in the two states would prevent it.
The Pac-12 CEO Group is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the conference’s options.
“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,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “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.”
The Big Ten and the Pac-12 decided last month 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. The Big Ten’s Council of Presidents and Chancellor voted Tuesday to change course and begin football with all 14 teams next month.
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