Pac-12 joins Big-10 and ACC in conference-only schedule
University of Arizona football helmets sit in a row before the start of the press conference to introduce head football coach, Kevin Sumlin. The UA is now facing two Federal Title IX lawsuits in relation to former running back Orlando Bradford's time on the football team.
The Pac-12 Conference announced on Friday, July 10, it will be moving to a conference-only season for several fall sports as well as delaying the start of all mandatory athletic activities until further notice. The conference still intends on playing sports in the fall.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Larry Scott, Pac-12 commissioner, in a statement. “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 Pac-12 is the third conference to transition to this new schedule model after both the Big-10 and ACC made the decision for a conference-only schedule this past Thursday, July 9. This new model will cut down on long-distance traveling as well as ensure all student-athletes are still being tested at an efficient rate.
"Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student-athletes, and we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront,” said Michael Schill, Pac-12 CEO group chair, in a statement.
Arizona football was originally slated to play three non-conference games this season, hosting the University of Hawai'i and Portland State University in the first two games of the season before traveling to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech University on Sept. 19.
While the Wildcats did not have any marquee non-conference matchups scheduled for 2020, other teams in the Pac-12 have now lost out on games that would have had important implications for the College Football Playoffs and Bowl Game selections. The University of Washington was set to host the University of Michigan on Sept. 5 while the University of Oregon was scheduled to play Ohio State University on Sept. 19.
Not every non-conference game is scheduled to be canceled, however, as University of Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne told Alabama Media Group, Alabama's game on Sept. 5 with USC in Arlington, Texas is still planning on being played.
“USC AD Mike Bohn and I are in regular contact,” Byrne said. “Our current plan is to play the game."
USC athletic director Mike Bohn mutually expressed interest, tweeting out on May 12 that they have "every intention" of keeping the game on the 2020 schedule.
No new official schedule has been released yet, but the Pac-12 could potentially set up for an 11-game season with each team playing each other once.
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