One of the two major conferences that decided to cancel college football this fall might be reversing course. And if it does so that could put pressure on the other to follow suit, but maybe not enough to force the issue.
The Big Ten may be nearing a vote to restart the 2020 season, as early as mid-October, after its school presidents and chancellors were presented with a “comprehensive plan” that emphasized medical protocols, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel. The conference’s leaders previously voted 11-3 to cancel all fall sports in August, with the Pac-12 following suit not long after (though extending the cancellation through the end of 2020).
Having the Big Ten come back would make the Pac-12 stand out among the pack, as the other FBS conferences not playing this fall (Mid-American, Mountain West) aren’t among the Power 5.
Will that force the Pac-12 to follow suit, and if so resume around the same time as the Big Ten? Not necessarily, according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News:
The Big Ten continues moving to a restart and Oct 17 is the tentative date. In an absolute best-case scenario - everything goes well medically and politically - the Pac-12 could start competition in early Nov.— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) September 13, 2020
Meanwhile, ESPN is reporting that, at best, the Pac-12 will return to competition in mid-to-late November.
On Saturday night, Wilner wrote that the Pac-12’s timeline to potentially return to football isn’t aligned with the Big Ten for a variety of reasons, most notably that no Big Ten schools have any state or county health restrictions prohibiting them from practicing.
The Pac-12 does, for half its schools. As it stands in California and Oregon, football practice wouldn’t be allowed. The Arizona and Washington schools, as well as Colorado and Utah, are able to practice and each is currently doing voluntary workouts.
It’s unlikely the league would make any decisions about football until after receiving the rapid-testing machines and tests from Quidel Corporation it contracted to get. That equipment is expected to be on all 12 campuses by the end of September.