The inevitable has become reality.
The Pac-12 Conference officially announced Tuesday it was postponing all fall sports, including football. Additionally, it is postponing all league competition through the remainder of 2020.
The decision was unanimous, per a news release:
“All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans,” said Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon. “Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”
“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”
“Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble,” Scott said in the release. “Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant. We will continue to monitor the situation and when conditions change we will be ready to explore all options to play the impacted sports in the new calendar year.”
The Pac-12 says all student-athletes affected will remain on scholarship and it “strongly encourages” the NCAA to grant an additional year of eligibility to all those impacted.
“As part of their guaranteed scholarships, they will continue to have university support, including academic advising and tutoring, among other support services,” the release said.
The move comes less than two hours after the Big Ten became the first of the power conferences to postpone fall sports. The Mid-American and Mountain West conferences had done so in the previous days, while numerous smaller Division I leagues had pulled the plug over the past three weeks.
The conference had previously pushed back the start of fall sports, with the football season set to begin Sept. 26. A revised football schedule, which was released July 31, would have had the Arizona Wildcats open at home against rival ASU as part of a 10-game conference-only schedule.
In addition to football, the other UA fall sports impacted are cross country, soccer and volleyball. Men’s and women’s basketball were scheduled to begin in early November, but their start appears to be getting pushed into 2021.