Forty-four days since they decided to delay all conference sporting events until 2021, the Pac-12 presidents have voted to begin the 2020 football season on November 6, as first reported by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News and Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.
Teams will play six conference games with the conference championship game taking place on December 18; everybody else will play an extra “crossover” game to bring their season total to seven games. To nobody’s surprise, games will be played without fans.
Wilner also reports the conference will announce today that they expect to begin the basketball season on November 25th after the NCAA announced guidance on that sport last week.
After the Big Ten voted to play last week, we all knew the Pac-12 would not be left behind as the only Power Five conference to not play football this fall and today’s vote sealed that. The conference certainly had their stuff together a lot better than the Big Ten after their initial postponement, including their announcement that they’d secured rapid antigen tests being delivered as early as this month for all their member institutions. This led to conference commissioner Larry Scott speculating sports could return sooner than Jan. 1st in the lead up today’s vote.
The real mess began last week when California Governor Gavin Newsom indicated nothing was stopping Pac-12 teams in his state from practicing and that the conference hadn’t even bothered to call and clear it up. The wheels quickly got moving after that when Oregon Governor Kate Brown granted an exemption to the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers to practice with the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans also getting a similar blessing around that time. The California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinal are still working on final approval, but that seems to be on track.
The conference’s schedule is yet to come but we do know one thing: we get to agonize over Washington State Cougars football this fall.