PAC: Sea­son to open Nov. 6

The Times-Tribune - - FOOTBALL -

dis­cuss a pos­si­ble late Oc­to­ber start to the football sea­son and the Mid-amer­i­can Con­fer­ence, the first FBS league to post­pone, is also re­con­sid­er­ing play­ing in the fall.

The South­east­ern Con­fer­ence be­gins play this week­end, join­ing the Big 12, At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence and three oth­ers that have been up and run­ning for weeks.

The sea­son is on­go­ing but it has been any­thing but nor­mal. There have been 21 games post­poned or can­celed since Aug. 26 be­cause of teams bat­tling var­i­ous lev­els of Covid-19-re­lated is­sues.

This week, four games sched­uled to be played Satur­day have been called off, in­clud­ing Notre Dame at Wake For­est be­cause of a virus outbreak among Fight­ing Ir­ish play­ers.

The turn­ing point for the re­turn of fall sports for the Pac-12 came this month when it en­tered an agree­ment with a di­ag­nos­tic test­ing com­pany that will give each school the ca­pa­bil­ity to con­duct daily anti­gen tests on their ath­letes.

Daily test­ing should also de­crease the num­ber of ath­letes who end up in quar­an­tine af­ter com­ing into what would be con­sid­ered a high­risk con­tact with some­one who has tested pos­i­tive.

When the Pac-12 post­poned on Aug. 11, its med­i­cal ad­vi­sors had rec­om­mended daily test­ing for ath­letes to safely com­pete at most of the con­fer­ence’s schools be­cause of high rates of com­munity spread of the virus.

“From the begin­ning of this cri­sis, our fo­cus has been on fol­low­ing the sci­ence, data and coun­sel of our public health and in­fec­tious dis­ease ex­perts,” Pac-12 Com­mis­sioner Larry Scott said in a state­ment. “Our agree­ment with Quidel to pro­vide daily rapid-re­sults test­ing has been a game-changer in en­abling us to move for­ward with con­fi­dence that we can cre­ate a safe en­vi­ron­ment for our stu­dent-ath­letes while giv­ing them the op­por­tu­nity to pur­sue their dreams.”

The Pac-12 said its de­ci­sion to restart sports is sub­ject to ap­proval from state and lo­cal public health of­fi­cials.

Daily test­ing helped the Pac-12 con­vince state and lo­cal of­fi­cials in Cal­i­for­nia and Ore­gon to lift re­stric­tions that have made it im­pos­si­ble for teams to pre­pare for a football sea­son.

There is still work to be done on that front, now in Colorado. Due to a re­cent spike in COVID-19 cases, Boul­der County of­fi­cials Thurs­day halted gath­er­ings for col­lege-aged res­i­dents for two weeks.

No fans will be per­mit­ted at Pac-12 sport­ing events tak­ing place on cam­pus, the con­fer­ence said.

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